Science Bowl

Since 2001, the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at ISU has hosted the Indiana Regional of the DOE National Middle School Science Bowl each year. The competition normally takes place on the last Saturday in February in Root Hall on ISU's campus. The event is staffed mostly by ISU faculty and students, and receives financial support from ISU's College of Arts and Sciences.


Mr. Derrick Bowman,, senior instructor of mathematics at ISU, is the coordinator for the event. Dr. Jeff Kinne,, professor of computer science at ISU, is co-coordinator. Dr. Henjin Chi, professor emeritus of mathematics at ISU, was the founder of the event.

Volunteers - start here (FAQ, rules changes for 2021)

Teams - schedule and results for 2021

2021 Invitational/Practice

An invitational/practice contest was held on January 9, 2021 from 9am-noon with teams checking at 8:30. The schedule of matches and results are in this google sheet.

Competition Format

The competition format for the 2022 contest is still be decided. NSB has indicated we should wait until December to decide on format, based on how things are with the pandemic at that point.

The 2021 contest was held online using Zoom with slightly different rules, due to the ongoing pandemic. See science bowl resources for details on how the competition worked last year.

Changes from normal: teams can be 3-5 with all team members competing, teams are in their own zoom room to answer the questions (no head to head, no buzzers), teams will "lose" based on total points, no buzzers (moderator calls on first person to raise their hand), consulting is allowed on both tossup and bonus (no penalty points), 7 seconds to respond to tossup and 22 seconds for bonus, a round will be 15 questions with no time limit (all questions will be read as part of the match). All teams will compete in the morning, which will be 4 rounds for each team.

The top 8 teams based on total points from the morning will advance to play elimination rounds. The first two elimination rounds will be played by all 8 teams; the 4 teams with the highest combined total in these two rounds will advance. Elimination rounds 3 and 4 will be similar, with the top 2 teams from these rounds advancing. The fifth elimination round is the top 2 teams. If the same team has a higher score in this round and had the highest total from elimination rounds 3 and 4, that team wins. Otherwise, the sixth elimination round is a "rematch", and the team with the higher total in that round wins.

Teams compete from different schools. A team is 4 or 5 middle school students, with 4 competing at any given time. The moderator reads "toss up" questions from different categories of math and science (see the link to sample questions below), and the first person to ring in gets a chance to answer. When a toss-up question is answered correctly, the team gets 4 points and a chance at a "bonus" question that the team discusses as a team. Bonus questions are worth 10 points. See the link below to the official rules for more details.

All teams compete in a round robin fashion during the morning. After lunch, the top 16 teams (based on results from the round robin rounds) compete in a double-elimination tournament to determine the winner of the region. Teams that are eliminated can stay to watch other matches or compete in "fun rounds" after they are eliminated.

Date and Time

The regional competition is normally the last or second-to-last Saturday in February. The date is normally approved and announced in the summer for the following year. The contest normally begins at 9am, with teams arriving at least 15 minutes early to check-in on site. The final match of the contest is normally around 4:30-5pm.

For 2022, the contest will be on either (a) Saturday February 19 (with team check-in beginning at 8:00am and the last match of the day concluding by 4:30pm), or (b) on February 16-17 in the just-after-school hours (if the competition is virtual on zoom).


The contest normally takes place in the basement classrooms in Root Hall on ISU's campus. The address is 424 N. 7th Street, Terre Haute, Indiana 47809. Team check-in is in room A-011 in the basement. See this google map for the location of Root Hall. Note that all parking lots at ISU are free on the weekend (with the exception of gated or metered lots, none of which are very close to Root Hall). There are parking lots close to the department off of 7th, 8th, and 9th streets. For more on visiting ISU, see Visiting ISU or Campus Maps (click "PDF Maps" at the top right).

Detailed Schedule and Results

The schedule of matches and teams competing from the past several years are linked below. The detailed schedule for 2022 will be posted here at a later date.

The results and schedule from recent years are in the following -

National Competition

The winning team from each regional contest, including the Indiana Regional, is invited to participate in the national contest in Washington, D.C. The Department of Energy pays for the trip for each winning team (team members and coach) to travel to Washington, D.C. The national event is normally during the last week of April or first week in May, from a Thursday to Monday.

The 2021 national competition was held online using Zoom due to the ongoing pandemic.


The middle school regional contest is for middle school students only (grades 6, 7, 8). A separate competition for high school students takes place in Indianapolis; see High School Regionals for details. Teams must be approved by the school principal. The Indiana Regional normally takes teams from Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.

Refreshments and Lunch

Lunch will be in the Sycamore Dining Hall (401 Chestnut St. and labeled on the google map) or Hulman Memorial Student Union (550 Chestnut St. and labeled on the google map). Each team coach is given a meal card with sufficient funds for 6 meals (5 team members plus coach) at the Sycamore Dining Hall (dining hall serving brunch, buffet style). Teams can choose to either eat at the Sycamore Dining Hall or Hulman Memorial Student Union. HMSU will have the following open - Burger King, Campus Cupboard, Einsten Bros Bagels, Starbucks. If eating at HMSU, the meal cards will have $49.14 total available to spend ($8.19 per team member/coach). Family members can join teams at either dining location and pay for their own meals.

Light refreshments (Square Donuts, fruit, cookies, drinks) are provided in the morning and afternoon for all who are present.

For 2021 the competition was online using Zoom, so there will be no refreshments or meals. Note though that many of the competitors often very much enjoy the junk food experience! Parents are encouraged to get some special snacks/meals for their students to help them have a great experience.


See the official information about the Indiana Regional at the DOE at the link below for information about registering. Registration normally opens sometime in October.

Rules for Spectators

For 2021, a single adult was allowed in the room with each competitor, but that adult would need to complete a waiver form to be able to do so. If interested, contact Derrick. The usual rules for spectators would also still apply.

The following are NOT ALLOWED during competition.

  • Electronic devices
  • Pictures/video
  • Writing
  • Talking/whispering
  • Ringing phone
  • Entering room during match
    You may only enter the room during halftime or in between matches.

The team coach ONLY may keep score on the DOE scoresheet.

The team members ONLY may challenge during the contest, BEFORE the next question.


Historical Results

The winning teams at the Indiana Middle School Regional have been as follows.

  • 2021: Sycamore School
  • 2020: Sycamore School
  • 2019: Sycamore School
  • 2018: Creekside Middle School
  • 2017: Sycamore School
  • 2016: Sycamore School (second place at nationals)
  • 2015: Sycamore School
  • 2014: Sycamore School
  • 2013: Creekside Middle School (first place at nationals)
  • 2012: Creekside Middle School
  • 2011: Sycamore School
  • 2010: Klondike Middle School
  • 2009: Honey Creek Middle School
  • 2008: Honey Creek Middle School
  • 2007: Honey Creek Middle School (first place at nationals)
  • 2006: Honey Creek Middle School (first place at nationals)
  • 2005: Honey Creek Middle School (first place at nationals)
  • 2004: Honey Creek Middle School
  • 2003: Honey Creek Middle School
  • 2002: Honey Creek Middle School
  • 2001: Honey Creek Middle School