“The largest islands in this archipelago are named Isabela and Santa Cruz. The finches on these islands were studied by a naturalist traveling aboard the HMS Beagle in the 1830s. Ecuador controls—for 10 points—what archipelago in the Pacific Ocean once visited by Charles Darwin?” If you thought of the Galapagos, you get 10 points. This question, which comes from the National Academic Quiz Tournaments LLC website, is an example of those that Quiz Bowl participants face at their competitions each year.
Edina High School has both a Science Bowl team, which meets Tuesdays after school in Michael Roddy’s room, and a Quiz Bowl team, which meets Thursdays after school in Nickie McKeever’s room. Both clubs prepare for knowledge-based competitions that require competitors to buzz in and respond to questions. In Quiz Bowl, these questions can range from human anatomy to geography to American literature, while Science Bowl, as its name suggests, only has questions about STEM fields.
Despite the core similarities of the clubs, their competitions differ. Quiz Bowl has three tournaments throughout the school year, and within each tournament are a series of preliminary rounds that lead to the playoffs.
Science Bowl has one practice tournament early in the year at Wayzata High School and then a state tournament in January. The Edina Science Bowl team won the state tournament in 2016 and 2017, but hasn’t since. Senior Aryan Jain is a co-captain of Science Bowl this year (and a member of Quiz Bowl). “Two years ago we came in fourth place [at the state tournament]. Last year we came in fifth,” Jain said. “This year we’re hoping to get back [to first].” The Science Bowl team has been working on harder problems and practicing as if they were at the actual tournament.
During the meetings for each team, students buzz in and answer questions like they would at an actual competition, but in a more casual atmosphere. “During the [Science Bowl] practices we are not necessarily as competitive because it’s just to have fun. It’s also a place for people to learn new things,” Jain said. “[I’ve learned about] interesting facts like different formations of chemicals, like dual isotopes and allotropes.”
For interested students, both Quiz Bowl and Science Bowl are welcoming spaces that encourage members to participate. Sophomore Mark Ghergetta has been on Science Bowl for two years, and just joined Quiz Bowl this year. “The first time I was in Quiz Bowl, I just didn’t feel like buzzing in because I didn’t really know the people. But after a few meets, I feel a lot more comfortable and it’s a lot more fun,” Ghergetta said. “Going into my second year [of Science Bowl], it’s [also] a lot more fun. They’re both good environments.” Both clubs encourage interested students to join, and Science Bowl in particular is looking for non-senior members for next year.