On competition day, twelve classrooms are used simultaneously as twenty-four teams compete in head-to-head matches. The teams will rapidly answer buzzer questions and more complex team challenge questions in areas such as biology, marine science, chemistry, and ocean engineering. Each competition room requires a minimum of six volunteers (time keeper, moderator, science judge, score keeper, rules judge and runner). The volunteers facilitate the full day of ocean science questions with many heated moments of competition between the teams. There is also a group of senior science judges on site to grade team challenge questions. Because of the technical nature of the questions, MIT faculty, graduate students, and other local scientists are required for their expertise.
The winning team from the Blue Lobster Bowl advances to the NOSB finals where they compete against the twenty-five regional winners from across the United States. Approximately 2,000 students from over 300 U.S. high schools participate each year. Most importantly, the competition inspires local teachers by providing them with new opportunities to incorporate marine sciences into their curriculum. Students involved in this competition improve their ocean literacy and receive supplemental ocean knowledge that is omitted from most high school curriculums.
This annual event is co-sponsored by The MIT Sea Grant College Program, The MIT Center for Ocean Engineering and The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Volunteers and spectators are welcome.