March 21, 2016

2016 Blue Lobster Bowl

MIT Sea Grant College Program, Woods Hole Sea Grant and The National Ocean Science Bowl sponsored the 19th Annual Blue Lobster Bowl on March 5th, 2016. MIT Sea Grant and People Making a Difference (PMD) organized this year's tournament which included 20 teams from 12 Massachusetts high schools.

Teams of students were split into four divisions and tested in classrooms across campus, 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."

The students’ excitement was invigorating as they battled each other in friendly competition. For many of the schools that participated, students would practice once, even twice a week, for months in advance. The sheer amount that students need to know to compete is astounding with concepts that included complex physical oceanography, ocean policy, and marine biology. The Blue Lobster Bowl allows students to explore these technical concepts outside the classroom, giving them the incentive to strengthen critical science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills. The bowl also gives student an opportunity to interact with scientists within the community, the volunteers come from different career paths within the sciences and students get to ask them all about their experiences within their field.

During the first phase of the competition all 20 teams from the 12 participating high schools competed in a Round Robin Tournament, each team playing 4 matches. The schools included: Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, Bristol County Agricultural High School, Brookline High School, Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, Chelmsford High School, Fitchburg High School, Lexington High School, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, Margarita Muniz Academy, Newton North High School, Newton South High School, and Boston Latin.

Following the Round Robin, the top 8 teams advanced to a Single Elimination Tournament. These teams included: Lexington High School team A, Newton North High School team A, Lexington High School team B, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School A, Cambridge Rindge and Latin, Newton South High School team A, Newton North High School team B, and Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School team B. Lexington High School’s Team A won the bowl and is the regional champion. They will represent Massachusetts at the 19th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl Finals tournament at the University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Sciences, Morehead City, NC, April 21-24, 2016.

The remaining 13 teams who did not participate in the Single Elimination Tournament competed in the McDowell Science Challenge, a competition that challenges students' creative problem solving skills. Chelmsford High School won the McDowell Award for Excellence in Academic Collaboration, with Brookline High School as the runner up.

Many thanks to the teams, coaches and volunteers who made the 19th annual Blue Lobster Bowl possible!

Blue Lobster Bowl 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. 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 National Ocean Science Bowl.

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