Tennessee Science Bowl Format

On Friday, teams will arrive at the Hilton Knoxville Airport for registration, photographs, social activities, and dinner. Coaches will draw for the placement of their teams in the round-robin competition divisions. Teams will lodge at the Hilton Knoxville Airport overnight. On Saturday morning, teams will travel to the Pellissippi State Community College, Blount County Campus, near Friendsville (about 8-9 miles from the Hilton) for the competitions.

The regional competition is played in a question-and-answer format in which two student teams attempt to answer toss-up and bonus questions. Teams are randomly placed in divisions and play against the teams within their division during the round-robin rounds. The top two teams in each division advance to the double-elimination rounds in the afternoon.

How It Works

  1. Each regional competition round is divided into two eight-minute halves with a two-minute break.
  2. The first half begins as soon as the moderator begins the first toss-up question. Before reading the question, the moderator identifies:
    1. whether it is a toss-up or bonus question
    2. the subject area
    3. whether it is multiple choice or short answer

If a contestant elects to answer the toss-up question, he/she activates the lock-out system (an electronic device that locks out all other contestants and identifies the student who wishes to answer the toss-up question). The moderator then verbally recognizes the student.

Should the student answer the toss-up question correctly, the student's team receives 4 points and is awarded a bonus question. A correct answer to the bonus question results in the team receiving an additional 10 points.

Play then continues with the reading of the next toss-up question to the two teams.

On toss-up questions, team members may communicate with each other non-verbally (e.g., in writing, by hand signals, or by mouthing words). They may not, however, audibly communicate verbally.

  1. As a toss-up question is read, a student may cause an interruption to the reading of the question.
    1. If the moderator verbally recognizes the student and he/she answers correctly, that team is awarded 4 points, and the team wins the right to answer a bonus question.
    2. If the student interrupts the question, is verbally recognized, but answers the toss-up question incorrectly, 4 points are awarded to the opposing team and the question is read in its entirety to the opposing team. That team may answer the toss-up question for a chance at the bonus.
  2. A student MUST wait to be verbally recognized by the moderator before beginning to answer the toss-up questions. If a student answers a toss-up before being verbally recognized, the opposing team is awarded 4 points, the response is ignored (the moderator will not reveal whether the answer was correct or incorrect), and the toss-up question is offered to the opposing team. This rule is necessary to avoid situations where two team members think they have activated the lock-out system and blurt out simultaneous answers.
  3. The game is over when the second half ends, or 23 toss-up questions have been read. The winning team is the one with the greater point total.

Watch this short video for more information on the buzzer system and timers used at the TSB.