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The Science Bowl

science-bowl-logo.jpgThe Science Bowl is a weekly game show in which students from different schools compete against each other to test their science IQ.   Watch as host Dave Zahren leads elementary and middle school students into battle for the coveted Science Bowl Championship.

Watch the Science Bowl on Youtube 

Watch TV96/38 Live and On-Demand


Science Bowl Resources

Science Bowl Rules

  • Science Bowl teams consist of three on-camera players and one alternate. 
  • The contestants are chosen entirely by the schools which often administer science tests to would-be players or use report card grades or stage mock Science Bowl competitions to assess science competency.
  • During the actual games, two teams vie in a contest to answer tossup questions of different point value in different categories to amass the larger score.
  • All teams start out at 50 points and no penalties are ever deducted for an incorrect answer.
  • Play proceeds in two rounds of five and ten minutes.
  • Although just one team member, the captain, can ring in with the buzzer, all three players are encouraged to actively talk among themselves to reach consensus.
  • When a team rings in to answer, the question cannot be repeated nor will the moderator finish reading an interrupted question.
  • The winner of each match then moves to the next level of competition (quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals).
  • When a team wins a match and returns for the next round of play, teacher coaches can make a substitution using the team's alternate.
  • Elementary school players are usually sixth graders but fifth graders are permitted if the coach so decides.
  • Middle school players are usually eighth graders because they have one additional year of science background, but seventh graders do often participate.

Preparing for the Science Bowl

Students can best prepare for the SCIENCE BOWL competition by: 

  • Keeping up with science in the news (following the newspapers, 
  •  news magazines, televised news, and items on the web) 
  • Reviewing scientific terminology, especially prefixes, suffixes and root words
  • Practicing together to develop a playing style that will work to their advantage. 
  • Successful teams often stage mock SCIENCE BOWLS in their own schools 
  • Watching SCIENCE BOWL shows on Channel 96 (Comcast), Channel 38 (Verizon), and on YouTube.  All of the past year’s shows can be found on YouTube.  This is perhaps the best way to prepare for the show.  Students will hear the kinds of questions asked and see the format of the competition.   

Please plan on arriving at the Bonnie Johns Educational Media Center at 12:30 on your day of taping.  We tape three shows during each day of competition.  You should expect to be at the Center until 3:30.  Parents, relatives and friends are welcome to attend and can view the taping in Room 206, the Interactive Classroom.

Science Bowl Sample Questions

The following questions are typical of those used on the SCIENCE BOWL.  These questions and answers, which were used before, are not meant for memorization.  They are presented to convey SCIENCEBOWL’S style of questioning.


  •  5 – There are over 400 species of oak trees that vary in size and shape, but all share what same characteristic fruit? (ACORN)
  • 10 – Even a single passing cloud can slow this process in plants, spoiling, if you will, their appetite for CO2 (PHOTOSYNTHESIS)
  • 15 –George Washington Carver is known for all the products he made from sweet potatoes and what other leguminous plants?  (PEANUTS)
  • 20 – Leonardo da Vinci not only discovered that the number of tree rings told a tree’s age but also that the width of each ring conveyed information about this.  (KIND OF GROWING SEASON, e.g. RAINFALL AMTS, LACK OF PREDATORS, etc.)
  • 25 – Which of the following are vascular plants: roses, mosses, algae, bamboo? (ROSES and BAMBOO)


  •  5 – Even though the “Jungle Book’s” Baloo, the bear, lives in the tropics, he insists to Mowgli that he still does this in the winter. (HIBERNATE)
  • 10 – The keel in a bird, like that in a chicken or a turkey, is better known as this breakable good luck charm. (WISH BONE)
  • 15 –The saber tooth tiger is thought to have dispatched its prey by the use of these especially large teeth (CANINES)
  • 20 –Polar bears are the only bears not to adopt this feeding style, preferring carnivory alone.  (OMNIVORY)
  • 25 – The protection afforded clownfish by the sea anemone and the cleaning service the fish provide in return is an example is this kind of relationship in which both species benefit (SYMBIOSIS)


  •  5 – Someone who can’t tell good music from bad is said to have one of these sense organs made of tin. (EAR)
  • 10 –Doctors recommend wearing sunglasses as often as possible to protect the eye from what kind of damaging light?  (ULTRAVIOLET)
  • 15 – It’s now thought that the slightly cooler temperature in our nose, makes it easier for these agents that cause the common cold to survive.  (VIRUSES) 
  • 20 –Why do doctors routinely use sphygmomanometers on hypertensive patients?  (TO CHECK ON THEIR BLOOD PRESURE)
  • 25 – Fingerprints leave behind telltale lipids which is another name for what kinds of substances that students test for with the translucency rubbing test in school labs? (FATS)


  •  5 –What reflective surface told the truth about Snow White to the Evil Queen, but lied to Shrek? (A MIRROR)
  • 10 – While a good egg sinks, a rotten egg will float because of a difference in this D-initialed quality. (DENSITY)
  • 15 –Dipping your car key in rubbing alcohol can open a frozen door lock because of this process (EVAPORATION)
  • 20 –What inert gas is responsible for most of the lights on the Las Vegas Strip? (NEON)
  • 25 – At very low temperatures, some metals like tin and lead become superconductors acquiring the strange ability to move electrons with little or no __________ (RESISTANCE)


  •  5 – Scientists and lay people trying a seemingly impossible task often express confidence, because, after all, this country did put a man on the _____ (MOON)
  • 10 –Phase contrast, compound, acoustic, and electron are just a few of the varieties of this most common of laboratory instruments. (MICROSCOPE)
  • 15 – Known by their St. Joseph name and their orange taste, these 81 mg. tablets, originally used only by children, are now being used by adults to prevent heart disease. (ASPIRIN)
  • 20 – The 3 Wise Men visiting Bethlehem brought gifts of gold, myrrh, and a kind of crystallized tree sap known as this. (FRANKINCENSE)
  • 25 –What same term describes the birth of a cow and that of a glacier? (CALVING)


  •  5 – NASA recently succeeded in putting a space probe named Juno into orbit around her “husband,” this largest of planets.  (JUPITER)
  • 10 – One of 4 newly discovered chemical elements, number 117, is named for one of our states and has the symbol Ts, which is very similar to its postal abbreviation, TN. (TENNESSEE)
  • 15 – Every new doctor takes an oath that begins, “First, do no harm.”  Which of the following Greeks originated that oath: Aristotle, Hippocrates, or Socrates?  (HIPPOCRATES)
  • 20 –When Percy Spencer walked near a magnetron and discovered that a chocolate bar in his pocket had melted, he’d discovered the workings of this now common kitchen appliance.  (MICROWAVE)
  • 25 –Benjamin Franklin was the first person to chart the Gulf Stream and note that it was 18 degrees warmer than the water in what surrounding body of water?  (ATLANTIC OCEAN)