Hopkins Junior High School Team members, from Fremont, Calif., Raghu Dhara and Krishna Bharathal compete at the 2010 National Science Bowl for middle school students in Washington D.C. | Photo courtesy of John Troha, National Science Bowl.
Think you’re smarter than one of the middle schoolers participating in the National Science Bowl Middle School Finals?
They may be middle schoolers, but the 10- to 12-year-olds competing at this level of the nation’s largest science competition have already demonstrated their scientific and mathematical prowess by beating out 15 to 50 other teams at their respective regional competitions.
See how you do with these 10 sample questions from the 2007 National Science Bowl Middle School Finals. There are two types of questions: multiple choice and short answer. Topics include earth science, biology, general science, chemistry, and math. Answers are at the bottom. Good luck!
1. What northward-moving ocean current is the dominant feature generally located off the east coast of the U.S.? (short answer)
2. Which of the following is the study of spiders:
- A) arachnology
- B) dendrochronology
- C) planktology
- D) lepidopterology
3. Which one of the following 4 colors of light has the greatest angle of refraction in normal glass:
- A) orange
- B) violet
- C) red
- D) yellow
4. Honey is considered hygroscopic because it:
- A) is very dense for a sugar
- B) loses water to its environment
- C) attracts water from the air
- D) expands rapidly on heating
5. Consider an isosceles triangle whose vertex angle measures 20º. Find the measure of one of the EXTERIOR angles, in degrees, at the base of the triangle: (short answer)
6. Which of the following is when ocean tidal currents typically reach their maximum velocity:
- A) at high tide extremes
- B) at low tide extremes
- C) midway between high and low tides
- D) during flood tide
7. Add a second proton and two neutrons to the hydrogen nucleus and you have which element? (short answer)
8. Which of the following follows from the Doppler effect for a sound wave source where a loud motorcycle is moving towards you:
- A) the wavelength will shorten and frequency increases
- B) the wavelength will shorten and frequency decreases
- C) the wavelength will increase and frequency increases
- D) the wavelength will increase and frequency decreases
9. What is the most common name for the branch of mathematics developed by Mandelbrot that generates geometrically self-similar patterns? (short answer)
10. Which of the following instruments did Louis Pasteur use in dispelling the theory of spontaneous generation:
- A) swan-necked flasks with boiled and unboiled broth
- B) open and closed jars with rotting meat
- C) flasks of amino acids and other organic molecules exposed to electric charges
- D) bacterial cultures inside sterile tubes
How did you do?
If you really want to fully experience the Science Bowl Finals, then gather seven of your best friends, split everyone into two teams, and seat them at opposing table with one buzzer per team member. Then, have another friend ask you 25 questions from the sample questions at the middle school or high school levels. To fully abide by the rules of the competition, remember that prefacing answers with “my answer is...” is considered a delay of the game, and points will be deducted. Also, moderators will not re-read questions.
Or, you can leave it to the (future) professionals, and merely spectate. The middle school finals will be livecasted from the National Building Museum on Monday, April 30 at 9:30 a.m. The high school final round will air directly afterwards, starting at 10:40 a.m.
ANSWERS: 1.) Gulf Stream; 2.) A - Arachnology; 3.) B – Violet; 4.) C – Attracts water from the air; 5.) 100; 6.) C – Midway between high and low tides; 7.) Helium; 8.) A – The wavelength will shorten and frequency increases; 9.) Fractals; 10.) A - Swan necked flasks with boiled and unboiled broth