Students clash in annual quiz bowl

IDAHO FALLS — What’s the most abundant gas in Mars’ atmosphere?

You might not know, but high school senior Jared Thompson does.

“Carbon dioxide,” Thompson blurted out at a recent student quiz bowl. His teacher nodded in approval.

Hundreds of students from across East Idaho competed in the 2019 Idaho National Laboratory Science Bowl last week.

The Jeopardy-stile event, now in its 29th year, allows students to test their knowledge in a variety of subjects, from math and civics to geography and physics.

“I like it because it lets me see what I know and what I don’t know,” Thompson said.

This year, teams from 22 area high schools competed in the round-robin competition at Idaho State University’s Idaho Falls campus.

Divided into groups of eight, students faced off against teams from similarly sized schools. Students had 10 seconds to respond to questions from the U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored National Science Bowl. (Math questions allowed for a 20-second response time.)

Thompson’s team beat Thunder Ridge High School’s team 110-25 in one of Thursday’s many matchups.

The competition’s winning team will compete in the National Science Bowl, in April, in Washington, D.C.

“Both of my brothers competed in D.C.,” said Idaho Falls senior Keenan Bryan.

A free trip across the country to compete would be “cool,” Bryan said, but the best part of the competition is teaming up with friends.

“Some kids are better at some subjects, and we can draw on each other’s strengths,” he said.

All those questions can be physically draining, other students said. After beating Thunder Ridge, Idaho Falls students regrouped outside of a classroom by wolfing down some Taco Bell tortilla chips and Krispy Kreme apple pies.

“Here we go again,” one Idaho Falls student said before heading off for another matchup.

Some other questions from the competition

  • Steroids can be classified as which of the following types of bio-macromolecule?
  • Who wrote a famous poem that begins with this line, but in inverted order: “I think I know who’s woods these are”?
  • The land in Montana east of the continental divide was part of what real estate deal in 1803?
  • A famous principal of fluid mechanics, traditionally attributed as the explanation behind lift on an airplane wing, is named after what scientist?
Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

Devin was formerly a senior reporter and editor for Idaho Education News and now works for INL in communications.

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