Why a Research Project?

The Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl is somewhat different from most 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 US coastline, has nearly three-quarters of its continental shelf, and yields more than 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. 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.

The research project is designed to expand learning beyond the classroom and involve students with elders and scientists in their communities and throughout the 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 what they decide to do after high school, and contacts gained can be valuable to students as they consider college and their future career plans.

Like many states, Alaska has adopted performance standards for graduating high school seniors. The written and oral project together with the quiz game emphasize a majority of the content standards for science and satisfy most of the content standards for English and language arts.

To see what students have produced over the years for this component of the competition, please visit our comprehensive research paper archives.