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
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
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 agreeable.
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? Because 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 extracurriculars,
especially compared to athletics. ACB fills an
extracurricular void on the academic side of school.