A year after being eliminated in the first round of the Prince George’s County Science Bowl, Riverdale’s Beacon Heights Elementary School returned to defeat Forestville’s Samuel Massie Elementary School on Tuesday by 275-145 in a game that was much closer than the score suggested.
Although the Samuel Massie students did well on astronomical questions, Beacon Heights was able to capitalize on its biological and medical knowledge, as well as some swift buzzer-pressing, to seal the win.
The Science Bowl, in its 26th year, is Prince George’s County Public Schools’ televised academic competition program. Filmed at the Bonnie F. Johns Educational Media Center in Landover, the competition features 40 elementary schools, along with a separate competition for 16 county middle schools.
Beacon Heights will return March 6 to face Capitol Heights Elementary School in the semifinal round.
Stephen Biller, a Beacon Heights team sponsor and fourth- and fifth-grade science teacher, said last year’s first-round loss gave him an understanding of how to prepare in future years.
“I realized we had to practice twice as much,” Biller said.
Biller said the team practiced using old episodes of Science Bowl along with mock rounds, featuring a mix of speed and knowledge practice.
Aneesa Ali, 11, of Hyattsville, the fifth-grade captain of the Beacon Heights team, said she wants to go into medicine when she grows up, specifically pathology.
“I really like the human body, and I’d love to be able to determine the cause of death,” Aneesa said.
Aneesa said she thinks activities such as the Science Bowl will not only help her better grasp scientific concepts, but also keep them fresh in her mind.
The Samuel Massie team members held their heads high, despite the loss. Sixth-grader Mecahel Demissie, 11, of Forestville said the experience was fun, and he especially enjoyed the “Dateline Science” category, which features a mix of science in the news and science history, as it often has “questions about the stars and the planets.”
In the opening rounds, Beacon Heights Elementary defeated first-time Science Bowl contestants Panorama Elementary School in Temple Hills, 330-95, while Samuel Massie defeated Bladensburg’s Port Towns Elementary, 170-125.
Camryn Wilson, 11, a fifth-grader at Panorama Elementary, said she wants to be a chef when she grows up. She said she got into the Science Bowl in part because she knows there is a lot of chemistry involved in cooking, and she just enjoys the subject.
“It’s just about life,” Camryn said. “It’s in everything, in everyone, it’s all science.”
Panorama Elementary team’s captain fifth-grader Tyra Stanton, 10, of Temple Hills said she thought her team did well in spite of the result.
“I got to be on a TV show, and now everybody knows how intelligent we are,” Tyra said.