If students at Glenarden Woods Elementary School hadn’t recently read a science magazine that mentioned Deepsea Challenger — the vessel that voyaged to the deepest known point on Earth — Tuesday’s Science Bowl could have had a different outcome.
It was that final 25-point question that led the team to victory over Beacon Heights Elementary School, which trailed by just 20 points.
The Science Bowl, in its 27th year, is a “Jeopardy!”-style game show filled with science-related trivia hosted by Prince George’s County Public Schools each year for elementary and middle school teams. Game categories with point values from five to 25 include “Green Things,” “Zoo Parade,” “Dateline Science,” “Body Systems,” “Let’s Get Physical” and “Science Potpourri.”
Glenarden Woods ended with 240 points to Beacon Heights’ 195. Earlier Tuesday, the team beat Perrywood Elementary School in Upper Marlboro.
Glenarden Woods fifth-grader Joseph Yambo, 10, said the team’s practice, teamwork and science knowledge led them to close victory.
“It was very nerve-racking and very thrilling for me that it came down to the last question,” he said. “We won because of our enthusiasm of science.”
Joseph’s teammates were fifth-graders Chidimma Neubuis and Max Hernandez, both 10, who agreed that the close competition was both challenging and exciting.
Team members knew that the hard substance on someone’s incisors is called enamel, that Isaac Newton discovered gravity and that pythons are the types of snakes found in the Everglades that can be hunted for a bounty to keep their lead over Beacon Heights.
Riverdale’s Beacon Heights beat Laurel Elementary School earlier, advancing to the final round to face Glenarden Woods when they lost 195 to 240.
“We’re really proud of how we did,” said Beacon Heights sixth-grader Aneesa Ali, 12. “It was great that we had a strong team to play against.”
Aneesa played with teammates David Opoku, 11, a sixth-grader, and Miguel Garcia, 11, a fifth-grader.
Science Bowl host Dave Zahren said he doesn’t often see teams finish so close.
“The Beacon Heights team did not lose heart. They knew that they were evenly matched,” Zahren said. “If you challenge students they will rise to the challenge.”
Glenarden Woods, which won Science Bowl championships in 1995, 2007 and 2008 now becomes the first of four teams to compete in the semifinal round April 16.
Nancy Stewart, a Glenarden Woods fifth-grade science and health teacher said the students watched shows from previous years, practiced regularly and studied science facts to prepare. She said she was excited for the team to win on the final question.
“It was thrilling,” said Stewart, who is also the team’s sponsor. “It made that last correct answer that much more joyous.”