On June 5, a quintet of eighth-graders from Ladue Middle School ably held their own in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education by advancing to the top four of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl competition.
Because of COVID-19 concerns, the event took place “virtually” this year instead of “actually” in Washington, D.C., as usually happens.
On Feb. 22, Washington University in St. Louis had hosted the Missouri Science Bowl for Middle Schools, under the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. In that competition, Ladue Middle School placed first, ahead of Ballwin’s Crestview Middle School (second) and Chesterfield’s Parkway West Middle School (third). In so doing, Ladue Middle School secured the right to represent Missouri at the national event.
The national competition involved a total of 32 schools from 26 states. Its first round narrowed the field to 16 schools; its second round, to eight schools.
In the third round’s top-four competition, Ladue Middle School vied with Jonas Clarke Middle School of Lexington, Massachusetts; Preston Middle School of Fort Collins, Colorado; and Wisconsin Hills Middle School of Brookfield, Wisconsin. Ultimately, the Massachusetts and Colorado schools went to the top two.
“The top two teams will receive $2,500 to take back to their schools to support their science departments,” stated a Department of Energy press release. “The top four teams will receive $2,000, the top eight teams will receive $1,500 and the top 16 teams will take home $1,000 for their schools’ science departments.”
According to that press release, nearly 10,000 high school students and more than 5,000 middle school students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico participated in this year’s regional competitions. Since its 1991 beginning, the National Science Bowl has drawn approximately 325,000 students to compete, “excel in mathematics and science and to pursue careers in these fields.”