Four Rhode Island high schools will compete all day Saturday, Feb. 1 with eight other Connecticut high schools at an annual ocean science competition, called the Quahog Bowl.
The Connecticut Sea Grant’s Diana Payne organizes the competition and says Rhode Island schools typically do quite well.
“As a matter of fact, out of the 17 quahog bowls that have been held, Cranston [High School] West has actually won 15 of them,” said Payne. “They have represented the Quahog Bowl at nationals 15 out of 17 times. [That’s] quite a record.”
This regional competition is part of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. Payne says these competitions are meant to encourage the next generation to better understand and care about the ocean.
The competition looks a little bit like Jeopardy, with a buzzer, rapid-fire questions, and team challenge questions.
“These [team challenge questions] are higher order thinking questions with more depth,” said Payne.
Cranston High School West has won first place 15 times since the regional competition started 17 years ago. The team has also won two national championships. Steve Krous chairs the science department at Cranston High School West and coaches the school’s team.
“The program, our success in this competition, has led to us developing an ocean science class,” said Krous. “So it’s had a very positive impact as far as marine science preparation for the kids.”
Krous said his teams often practice on their own and will go down to a beach to study or the library at the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography. H said several of his students have pursued science-related degrees in college.
"I think this [Quahog Bowl] does help these kids living in Cranston to learn more about the ocean, be more appreciative, and then hopefully be smarter, better informed adults as far as making decisions," said Krous.
Classical High School, Narragansett High School, and Portsmouth High School also will compete this weekend. Narragansett High School took fourth place last year.