Many know Chatham’s Science League club as being an excellent opportunity to showcase their STEM knowledge in a friendly competition with other high schools in the district. However, given that the coronavirus has spread so rapidly, the official New Jersey Science League has put the formal competition on a hiatus, forgoing the traditional 50-minute exam and pizza party due to health concerns. This absence leaves many club members wondering: what will happen next? How can CHS’ Science League adapt to such extenuating circumstances?
Fret not! In place of traditional testing, students within the club are now competing to take part in the Cougar Bowl, an all-new event hosted by the Science League. Students will now take online, virtually-proctored state STEM exams for the chance to become team captains in the quiz bowl. Captains, or those with the highest scores, have the opportunity to choose their own teammates. The ideal strategy would then logically be to work with students across the scientific spectrum—so as to not come up short on any questions. After all, a physics student wouldn’t have much luck answering a biology question and vice versa.
I interviewed the club’s co-president (Mihir Rao) for his thoughts on the new Cougar Bowl format, asking him what he thinks are the benefits and drawbacks of pursuing such a novel event.
Why is the Science League pursuing this new format?
Given the current restriction posed by the pandemic, the NJ Science League is making schools pursue a virtual format for all testing. Since this eliminates the social aspect of the club, we wanted to host an event that would enable students to come together while still following health and safety protocols.
What challenges do you see the club facing in putting together this event?
One challenge we may face is determining the best space in the school that could host the event. We are considering spaces that allow for fair competition but also (and more importantly) following safety guidelines.
Why should students participate?
Students should participate in order to get an edge in the science classes and have a lot of fun. There will also be prizes for the winners.
Do you have any advice for people looking to compete?
If anyone is interested in participating, they should take the Science League tests that are held on a monthly basis because that is how you qualify for the Cougar Bowl. I would also advise students to think about forming teams and strengthening their skills in various science subjects.