Ten-year-old Elijah Oshiannuye, a fifth-grader at Bond Mill Elementary School in Laurel, took part in the Prince George's County Science Bowl competition Tuesday and said he prepared for the competition by studying a textbook about elements, from which he learned uranium needed to be enriched to create an atomic bomb.
That just happened to be one of the final questions in his team’s match against Vansville Elementary School in Beltsville. Oshiannuye’s answer gave him and his teammates, fifth-graders Christopher Jones and Matthew Miller, both 11, the lead in the final minutes of their eventual 190 to 165 point win.
“Every day, Matt would bring this book, and we would study uranium,” Oshiannuye said. “So I just said, 'Uranium,' and that was right.”
The team will now move on to the semifinals to face the team from Glenarden Woods Elementary School in Glenarden.
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. The games are filmed at the Bonnie F. Johns Educational Media Center in Landover. Tuesday’s game will be placed on YouTube and be broadcast on Comcast Channel 96 and Verizon Channel 38 from March 18 through March 24.
Science Bowl host Dave Zahren said competitions tend to be closer as more teams start to get eliminated, noting that Bond Mill took the lead in the final two questions.
“Now that we are in these elimination rounds, these team come in with experience,” he said.
Oshiannuye, Bond Mill’s captain, credited the team’s preparation for the win. He said since the end of October, he and his teammates would bring science-related books and newspapers to lunch every day to study.
“I think it went really well,” Oshiannuye said. “We were nervous a little bit — or a lot.”
Bond Mill defeated the team from Dodge Park Elementary in Landover earlier in the day, 225 to 145, and Vansville’s team had defeated the team from Rosaryville Elementary School in Upper Marlboro, 260 to 195.
Sakina McGruder, a kindergarten teacher at Vansville, said she was proud of how her team performed.
“It was a nail-biter,” she said.
Brendon Blackson, 11, a fifth-grader who was on the Vansville team, said he was not upset that the team lost.
“There is no disappointment,” Blackson said. “We went furthest of any team from our school. That is an outstanding achievement.”
Blackson’s team also included fifth-graders Samantha Bailor and Arya Pawar, both 10.
Kathy Jacobs, a fifth-grade special education teacher at Bond Mill who has sponsored the team for 26 years, said she had the team watch videos of previous competitions to get used to the pace and speed of the game. She said watching Tuesday’s game was nerve-racking, but overall she was happy with the team’s performance.
“It was a really good game,” Jacobs said. “I was feeling pretty good, I think there were some answers that they should have known, but I think part of that is nerves.”