Students in both the middle school and high school have been organizing practices and other sessions to prepare for competition as they get ready for this weekend’s Regional Science Bowl.
The competition will be held at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in Plainsboro, Friday for middle school students and Saturday for high school students.
“The NJ Regional Competition is open to all of New Jersey,” said Rob Ambrose, grade eight science teacher at the middle school.
For the middle school, 16 teams of five students each will be competing in a double elimination contest with oral questions from the fields of chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy and mathematics.
And 32 teams from high schools across the region will be competing in the competition Saturday.
From there, the winners of the competitions will compete in the national finals in April in Washington D.C. The program is sponsored by the Department of Energy.
The middle school students participating are Jerry Kong, Akash Kumar, Irene Qiao, Brian Wei and Patrick Wu.
“Akash had participated in the past years and approached me early this school year, looking to put together a team of five students to compete in this year’s Science Bowl,” Ambrose said. “I put out announcements and flyers inviting any interested middle school students to try out. Students had to take a 100-question test and the highest scoring students were selected.”
Ambrose said the students have been amazing in scheduling their own practices and preparing for the competition.
“They have been regularly practicing since October and have been meeting as a team up to three times a week,” he said.
The competition, Ambrose said, requires students to know about a wide variety of scientific fields, while also studying on an independent basis.
“They develop their own practice schedules and regularly take quizzes, which allow them to assess their knowledge and determine their level of preparation for the competition,” he said.
Ambrose said he has served as the advisor because he is also the science coordinator for the middle school.
“I know the kids are very excited about this Friday’s competition, and I am really looking forward to attending with them and seeing all of their hard work pay off,” he said. “They are an extremely bright and motivated group who are passionate about science and have been willing to go the extra mile to get to this point.”
“I am very proud of them and impressed by their maturity, organization and dedication,” he added.
The high school students participating are Nikhil Kunapuli, Aneek Patel, Nayan Bhat, Sahaj Garg and Jackie Lin.
The other middle schools participating are Highland Park Middle School, Princeton Charter School, Glenfield Middle School, Ramapo Ridge Middle School, Burlington City High School, Hedgepeth Williams Elementary School, Matawan Aberdeen Middle School, The Independence School, Wilbur Watts Intermediate School, Fisher Middle School, John Witherspoon Middle School, Cranbury School, JDroids Science Club and the Thomas Grover Middle School.
As for the high school, Mike Herbst, science supervisor at Bridgewater-Raritan High School, said one student found out about the program three years ago and approached him to advise. He agreed, and they have been attending since.
“I wholeheartedly agreed when I saw what this was about,” he said. “We have been doing this for three years and now we have a nice team building.”
Herbst said the high school students have also been busy preparing, practicing after school hours and creating their own buzzer system to practice being quick on the draw.
“The pressure is put on by the students themselves,” he said.
This year’s team, Herbst said, is primarily freshmen through juniors.
Herbst said he is very proud of the students, and is excited for them to be part.
“It’s nice and refreshing to see students take on the responsibility themselves,” he said. “They have taken ownership of this thing, and running their own practice schedules and arranging for transportation.”
“It is nice to see the kids step up and take responsibility, and have an interest in science beyond what they are doing to get an A in the class,” he added.
The other high schools competing are Bergen County Academics, Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia Charter School, Christian Brothers Academy, East Brunswick High School, High Technology High School, Highland Park High School, Hopewell Valley Central High School, John P. Stevens High School, Manalapan High School, Manheim Township High School, Marylawn of the Oranges Academy, Matawan Regional High School, Millburn High School, Montgomery High School, Noor-Ull-Iman School, Notre Dame High School, Pascack Hills High School, Princeton Day School, Princeton High School, Red Bank Regional High School, Ridge High School, Robbinsville High School, Sayreville War Memorial High School, South Brunswick High School, St. Joseph High School, State College Area High School, The Lawrenceville School, Watchung Hills Regional High School, West Windsor Plainsboro High School North, West Windsor Plainsboro High School South and William Penn Charter School.