Academic Challenge Bowl Program Logistics
The Academic Challenge Bowl -- or ACB --
program is a fast-paced, question-and-answer
competition. It is very similar to the high school
program MasterMinds. In a sense, what middle school modified
sports is for varsity/JV athletics at the high school level, ACB
is to MasterMinds.
The ACB season is an 8-game regular season, with those games being
spread across four meets.
Prior to the season, a scheduling meeting organizes the
participating teams into leagues. Leagues may be organized
by geography or school size, but are most often organized by
availability of days.
Meets are held after school with each league
meeting once every few weeks. Meets are held over the
course of the school year with the regular season running from
approximately mid- to late Novebmer to early April, followed by
playoffs. Each meet is normally designed so that each
school plays two matches.
Depending on the number of teams in each league, each meet consists of three to five games, with meets
generally beginning between 3:15 and 4:00 with the final match
ending between 5:30 and 6:30. Meets are held in the schools within each league, with
the location rotating among the participants. If all participants agree, meets can be held in neutral
locations and scheduled at other times.
The questions cover a broad
range: art, biology, chemistry, current events, geography,
history, literature, music, political science, pop culture,
religion and sports.
A team plays four students at a
time, with required halftime substitution. Some leagues
may require full substitutions, others just partial, with the
top scorers coming out.
How time-consuming is ACB for the advisor/coach: Itís
difficult to say since the only true coaching requirement is to
chaperone the team during meets. This chaperone does not
have to be the same person and the duty can rotate among several
people. It is, however, important to have a single
contact person for communications, arranging transportation and
getting students practice questions. Even if one person
handles those duties, ACB is not very time-consuming. Many
coaches hold weekly practices or hold practices the week
immediately prior to a scheduled meet; others may have the
students take the lead in organizing their own practices.
How time-consuming is MasterMinds for
students: Since meets are held roughly once every three to
four weeks, even an athlete can participate as long as ACB meets
do not conflict with athletic games and the athletic coach is
How do schools practice and how often: Schools
are given practice questions at the start of the year. Some
coaches do set aside some practice questions and run a Ďrealí game
complete with recognizing, ringing-in and the like. Others
have students read the questions to each other to improve their
listening skills while freeing the coach/advisor to do other
things. The students can practice the listening drills
whenever. Coaches should also make sure they do their
homework and read the newspaper.
Why should schools participate: It is fun
for students and adults. It is an activity that is more
educational and intellectual than sports. It provides
students, particularly the non-athletically inclined, with a
meaningful opportunity to represent their school in an
interscholastic setting. There is not enough attention
paid to academic extra-curriculars, especially compared to
athletics. ACB attempts to fill an extracurricular void on
the academic side of school.