Why a Research Project?
The Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl is somewhat different from other regional competitions in that a research project is used in determining the team that will represent the region at the national competition. The team from Alaska is likewise unique. Our team will be representing the state that has one-half of the U.S. coastline, has nearly three-quarters of its continental shelf, and yields over half of the nation's fish.
Organizers of the Alaska Tsunami Competition believe that although only one team nationally can win the annual NOSB competition, all our teams will be "reaching great heights on distant shores" by preparing and presenting a research paper on an important aspect of ocean sciences in our state. The project (like success in ocean sciences) requires an interdisciplinary team effort, the ability to assimilate and prioritize large quantities of often-conflicting results, and the ability to persuasively communicate the results and benefits of the research. These skills will serve the students well regardless of the field they choose to enter. We felt that although the quiz game was instructional and fun, it gave students the impression that oceanography was a static field where all the answers were already known.
Like many states, Alaska has adopted performance standards for graduating high school seniors. The written and oral project together with the quiz game emphasize more than 60% of the content standards for science and satisfy more than 85% of the content standards for English and language arts. Additionally, the project expands learning beyond the classrooms and involves students with scientists working in their communities, at the University of Alaska, and throughout the state. From a practical standpoint, these contacts can be valuable to students as they consider college and their future career plans.
To see what students have produced over the years for this component of the competition, please visit our comprehensive research paper archives.