March 3, 2014

MIT Sea Grant College Program pulls off the 17th Blue Lobster Bowl at MIT!

MIT Sea Grant College Program organized and hosted the 17th annual Blue Lobster Bowl at MIT on March 1, 2014. This year's tournament included 120 students from 15 Massachusetts high schools and was free and open to the public.

Teams of students were split into four divisions and tested in classrooms across campus through quick-answer buzzer questions and thought-provoking group challenge questions. MIT Sea Grant's Kathryn Shroyer, regional co-coordinator for the event, said this year's competition was specially designed to provide more game play to all teams. "In the past many teams were eliminated from the competition by early afternoon," explained Shroyer, "so there wasn't enough incentive for all of them to stick around until the end and participate in other activities and the closing award ceremony."

This year, each match pitted two teams of four students against one another in an academic quiz bowl format. Competitors used a buzzer system to respond to rapid-fire multiple choice and short answer questions read by a Moderator. Additionally, teams worked collectively to produce answers to complex "Team Challenge Questions."

During the first phase of the competition all 24 teams from the 15 participating high schools competed in a Round Robin Tournament, each team playing 5 matches. The schools included: Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, Brookline High School, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, Chelmsford High School, Community Academy of Science and Health, Fitchburg High School, Jeremiah E. Burke High School, Lexington High School, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, Marblehead High School, Newton North High School, Newton South High School, North Andover High School, North Reading High School, and Phillips Academy.

Following the Round Robin, the top 8 teams; Lexington High School A, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School A, Newton North High School A, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, Acton-Boxborough Regional High School A, Lexington High School B, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School B, and Newton North High School B advanced to a Single Elimination Tournament. Lexington High School’s Team A, being the winner of the final round, is the regional champion and will represent Massachusetts at the 17th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl Finals tournament at the University of Washington in May 2014.

The remaining 16 teams who did not participate in the Single Elimination Tournament competed in the McDowell Science Challenge for the McDowell Award for Excellence in Academic Collaboration, which is a new competition element added this year to assess and strengthen students' creative problem solving skills. The winner of this award went to Fitchburg High School’s Team A, with Acton-Boxborough Regional High School’s Team B as the runner up.

Working in partnership with People Make a Difference to recruit and train volunteers, MIT Sea Grant research scientists and partners were also on hand throughout the day to offer information and guidance to students interested in marine science and ocean engineering careers.

BLB question topics include marine biology, chemistry, geology, physics, navigation, geography, and related ocean history, literature, and public policy. In addition to the opportunity for the winning team to travel to the National Finals, teams vie for a variety of prizes, including money for study materials and educational trips. BLB participants are eligible to apply for ocean science summer internships at the MIT Sea Grant College Program. The BLB is part of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), which is a program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership based in Washington, D.C. Through this educational forum, the NOSB strives to encourage and support the next generation of marine scientists, policy makers, teachers, explorers, researchers, technicians, environmental advocates and informed citizens, to be stewards of the ocean. Many past NOSB participants have moved on to pursue college degrees and careers in ocean science. For more information, visit

The mission of the MIT Sea Grant College Program is to employ innovative research, education and outreach strategies to responsibly use and sustain the vital marine resources of Massachusetts. The issues manifested and addressed locally are global in nature, and are thus widely applicable. Compelling challenges demand our attention as a solo entity, and in partnership with other groups living and working on the coasts and at sea. MIT Sea Grant brings the substantial intellectual abilities of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and our sister universities to bear on ocean-related challenges requiring an extraordinary technical contribution. In meeting these challenges, we expand human understanding of the ocean and establish the infrastructure to sustain the initiatives and talent pool needed to address complex issues of critical and fragile marine resources.


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