District Heights pulls through to Science Bowl semifinals -- Gazette.Net


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After a game full of comebacks and close calls, District Heights Elementary School ultimately defeated Adelphi’s Mary Harris Mother Jones Elementary School 215-145 in Tuesday’s elementary school quarterfinal Science Bowl rounds.

District Heights will next compete against Laurel’s Montpelier Elementary School during the semifinals in February.

The Science Bowl is a televised game show started 28 years ago that quizzes Prince George’s public elementary and middle school students on their science knowledge. Questions are worth up to 25 points, with point values based on question difficulty.

The District Heights team of sixth-grade District Heights residents Devonte Duncan, 11, team captain Madison Holmes, 11, and Kyasia Waddy, 11, said they were happy with the win, especially because the competition was stiff.

“I feel really good,” Madison said. “I’m slightly surprised we won because the other teams were really good teams.”

Science Bowl host Dave Zahren said the game had some tough questions that referred to many relevant topics in today’s news, such as asbestos poisoning, electric cars and — to the students’ shock — fecal matter.

The show’s final 25-point question, which neither team attempted to answer, asked what was transferred during a fecal transfer, a new medical procedure used to treat intestinal infections.

“I knew the answer to the last one, I just didn’t want to say it on national TV,” Kyasia said with a laugh.

District Heights nearly tied in the first round with Bowie’s Yorktown Elementary School team of fifth-grade Bowie residents Ben Varghese, 10, team captain Shane Yran, 10, and Darren Ambe, 10. Both teams had 195 points in the second half, but District Heights pushed ahead to 220 points by correctly answering “laser” to a final question asking what a beam of condensed light was called.

“After that comeback, it was anyone’s game,” Ben said.

The second round saw another nail biter as the Mother Jones team of fourth-grader Anthony Romero, 9, of Adelphi, team captain sixth-grader Milagros Reyes, 11, of Hyattsville, and fourth-grader Dominique Maragh, 9, of Adelphi, made a strong comeback against Laurel’s Scotchtown Hills Elementary School.

Mother Jones ended the first half of the second round with 55 points, but won the round with 205 points after answering a slew of 25-point questions. For example, the team correctly answered “hydrogen” when asked what gas is added to vegetable oil when used in baking to make it solid.

“We had practice sessions since September two to three times a week,” said Mother Jones sponsor Tamra Taylor.

The Scotchtown Hills team of fifth-grade Laurel residents Victoria Lozada, 10, Brian Moscoso, 11, and Ethan Lac, 10, answered some tough questions, including “upper dermis” when asked what the upper layer of a leaf and the upper layer of the human skin was called.

“These were challenging questions. They’re pulling out answers, some answers even the judges thought they might not know,” Zahren said. “We’re hoping the people watching it at home are learning as well as the students.”

spetit@gazette.net