(Identical for both the Elementary and Middle School editions)
Science Bowl teams consist of three on-camera players and one alternate. The contestants are chosen entirely by the schools which often administer science tests to would-be players or use report card grades or stage mock Science Bowl competitions to assess science competency. During the actual games, two teams vie in a contest to answer tossup questions of different point value in different categories to amass the larger score. All teams start out at 50 points and no penalties are ever deducted for an incorrect answer. Play proceeds in two rounds of five and ten minutes. Although just one team member, the captain, can ring in with the buzzer, all three players are encouraged to actively talk among themselves to reach consensus. When a team rings in to answer, the question cannot be repeated nor will the moderator finish reading an interrupted question. The winner of each match then moves to the next level of competition (quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals). When a team wins a match and returns for the next round of play, teacher coaches can make a substitution using the teamÇs alternate. Elementary school players are usually sixth graders but fifth graders are permitted if the coach so decides. Middle school players are usually eighth graders because they have one additional year of science background, but seventh graders do often participate.