Rules of the Game
13. There are five (5) kinds of competition officials required for each game: Moderator, Science Judge, Rules Judge, Timekeeper, and Scorekeeper.
- Moderator: Reads questions and maintains the pace of the game.
- Science Judge: Addresses scientific challenges, resets the buzzer system and reports the scoring of the Team Challenge Questions to the teams following grading.
- Rules Judge: Maintains the order in the game room, enforces competition rules, responds to challenges to the rules, issues warnings, and passes out Team Challenge Questions and scrap paper.
- Scorekeeper: Tracks and records the teams’ scores throughout the game.
- Timekeeper: Marks the game time with a clock and a stopwatch.
14. There are three types of questions in the competition: Toss-up, Bonus, and Team Challenge Questions.
- Toss-up and bonus questions are paired in the competition. A toss-up question, is answered by any playing member of either team by buzzing in. The toss-up question must be answered correctly in order for a team to be offered the paired bonus question. Toss-up questions are only in multiple choice format. Bonus questions can be in either multiple-choice or short-answer format.
- Team Challenge Questions are cooperatively answered, critical thinking questions that require more time and thought than the toss-up and bonus questions and result in a written answer. Each competing team is given the same amount of time to answer these questions, and collaboration among team members is encouraged.
15. The competition format will be: 6-minute buzzer half, two (2) Team Challenge Questions, break, 6-minute buzzer half.
16. An official game clock MUST be visible to all competitors during the buzzer portions of the competition. It is optional to have the game clock visible to the competitors during the Team Challenge Question portion.
17. On toss-up questions, the first player on either team to activate the lock-out buzzer system wins the right to answer the question. Team members must be verbally recognized by the Moderator before answering.
18. If during a toss-up question, a player 1) answers before being recognized, 2) buzzes in BEFORE the Moderator has identified the subject area of the question, or 3) consults any of the other team members, the answer given will be treated as a non-answer or “blurt.”
19. If during a toss-up question, a player buzzes in during the reading of the question which includes the reading of the last word of the last answer choice (answer Z), the answer given will be treated as an “interrupt.” Either the moderator, the science judge, or rules judge will announce when a player “interrupts.” Teams will be informed at the beginning of each match which official is making this announcement.
20. When a team member creates a “blurt” scenario, that team loses the right to answer the question, and the question is offered to the opposing team. The Moderator will not indicate whether the answer was right or wrong and if the entire question was read, the opposing team has the opportunity to buzz in and answer the same toss-up question. If the entire question was NOT read, the Moderator will re-read the question in its entirety to the opposing team.
21. On short-answer questions (bonus questions only), the answer given must have the same meaning as the correct answer on the page. The Science Judge makes the determination on whether the answer given by the student is acceptable or not.
22. On multiple-choice questions (all toss-up and some bonus questions), the first answer given is the only one that counts and that answer may be the letter (w, x, y or z), the scientific answer or both. If a participant gives both the letter answer and a scientific answer, both parts must be correct.
- For example: If the correct answer as written on the page is W. a sea urchin, then Acceptable answers are: W; W. a sea urchin; W. sea urchin; a sea urchin; sea urchin. Unacceptable answers are: My answer is W.; urchin; an urchin; X. sea urchin.
23. With the exception of articles such as “a”, “an,” and “the,” answers to toss-up questions must be exactly as those on the written page. Prefacing the answer with phrases such as “My answer is” is NOT acceptable on a toss-up question.
Competition officials must follow Rule #23 UNLESS a scientific challenge is made by a player because a question is poorly worded or the scientific answer as written on the page is inaccurate or wrong.
24. Consultation among team members is not allowed on toss-up questions. Consultation among actively competing team members IS allowed on bonus questions and Team Challenge Questions.
25. If the answer to a toss-up question is wrong and the question was completely read, the other team is given the opportunity to buzz in to answer the toss-up question, unless time expires before the second team has buzzed in.
26. Once a question has been read in its entirety, it will not be re-read.
27. The answer to a bonus question may only come from the team’s captain including when the question is interrupted (by the captain, or any other team member). Moderators will ignore an answer from anyone but the captain on a bonus question.
28. On bonus questions, prefacing the answer with “My answer is” or “Our answer is” IS acceptable, but not required.
29. On a bonus question, once the captain has begun to give his or her answer, no further consultation or contribution by team members is allowed.
30. When answering a Team Challenge Question, teams will write out their answers on a provided sheet of paper. When time is called the captain will hand in one answer sheet. (Note: the answer sheet handed in need not be written by the team captain.) Partial credit will be awarded.
31. Answers to the Team Challenge Questions must be written clearly and entered where specified for points to be awarded.
32. No notes may be brought to the competition table. Nothing may be written before the game clock starts. Scratch paper will be provided at the beginning of each match and collected at half-time and at the conclusion of the match by the Rules Judge.
33. Substitutions may be made only at the break during each match.
34. Prior to each match, the team coaches will introduce themselves to each other and will sit together in the back row of the competition room. Alternate team members will introduce themselves and will sit in the back of the competition room as well.
35. At the end of each match, on the Official Score Sheets provided, the competition officials will record their names and the names of the schools competing, and each team captain will sign off on the scores signifying the scores are accurate and final.
36. Calculators, cameras, camcorders, cell phones or audio-recording devices may not be turned on in the game rooms while a game is in session. Offending individuals may be issued a warning or asked to leave the competition room. Please note: this does not apply to official photographers/videographers employed by the competition host.
37. Members of the audience may not write notes of any kind. If this occurs, the written material will be confiscated and the individual(s) may be may be issued a warning or asked to leave the competition room.