The Apache Pow Wow

Ocean Science Bowl: 2nd at Regionals

Charles Su, Staff Writer

On Feb. 23, Santa Monica High School placed 1st at the Los Angeles (LA) Surf Bowl, with AHS placing 2nd. The Nationals will be held at Washington, D.C. from Apr. 11 to 14, as Santa Monica will be sponsored and flown there by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

The National Ocean Science Bowl has two competitions, Regional and Nationals. Regionals are by city; for instance, California competitions are hosted within LA County by JPL, in Pasadena. From JPL’s website, OSB is “comprised of three elements: a round robin competition, critical thinking based team challenge questions, and a double elimination competition.” Unlike Academic Decathlon and other academic competitions, OSB competitions do not consist of statewide contests but instead immediately continue to Nationals. Though, much like other academic competitions here at AHS, each of their annual events revolves around a unique theme and teams answer using buzzers. The OSB has various categories to study and know, the topics covered are the following: Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Physics, Geology, Social Sciences, Environmental Science, and Marine Policy. ‘Earth Science’ (Geology, atmospheric studies, and weather) focuses on those three topics and how they affect the ocean. This year’s annual theme was “Observe the Ocean; Secure the Future,”  and it promotes more research about the ocean and sharing that knowledge with others. Questions relating to this theme relate to several science disciplines, such as how technology makes observation easier, and policies on ocean observation.

OSB’s supervisor is Ms. Kristeen Pisano, an AP Biology teacher here at AHS, and there are 16 team members, led by Captain senior Jennifer Qi. Instead of being a class, this is an academic team that has meetings after school, at least two times per week. Meetings are meant to emulate the real tournaments and include buzzer system practice rounds, which try to make it entertaining and fun instead of it being too serious. OSB is only allowed to send one team to compete each year which means the selection process is to find the best team members and put them into the “A-Team”. Senior Lucia Cheng is on this A-team and specializes in technology which “spans from satellite names to Secchi disks, water samplers to echo sounders.” She also explained that many members of the competing team have widespread knowledge about several subjects to ensure the OSB is ready for any questions.

Despite the outcome of Regionals, OSB is very dedicated and a hard working team. Their training gave them a good run this year. Good luck to them for next year!

Photo courtesy of JPL.NASA.GOV

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Ocean Science Bowl: 2nd at Regionals