Stay All-Day Activities

To encourage teams to stay until the end of the day at regional competitions, the following activities are provided. 

Some activities will take longer than others, but most are expected to take between 30 and 60 minutes to complete.  The number of activities you use will depend on your particular schedule.

Some of the activities are written to be competitive and others are not.  They are labeled in their descriptions.  Especially for non-competitive activities, organizers are encouraged to display the student work for all to view during the remainder of the regional competition in a common location and/or post online.

You may choose to award prizes to the teams that win the competitive activities.  If not awarding tangible prizes, the teams should be recognized to the larger group in some way to celebrate their accomplishment.

If using a competitive activity, you are encouraged to make general rules clear at the start, which are not provided on the individual activity sheets.  These general rules can consist of:

  • Whether coaches can assist team members or not,
  • Whether calculators or cell phones can be used for activities that do not specifically call for their use,
  • Whether or not every member of a team must participate, and
  • How prize winners will be determined and when the prizes will be awarded or recognition will take place.

We value your feedback on the use of these activities and welcome suggestions for new activities.  PLEASE tell us when you used these activities and how it went.  You can access a feedback form here.  Feedback can be faxed to National Science Bowl Coordinator at (202) 586-0019 or emailed to

Activities by Main Subject Matter


  • Natural Selection of the Galapagos Origami Bird (high school) [.pdf] [.doc]

    Description:  An experimental design activity that can be done individually (preferred) or in pairs.  Students will simulate evolution by natural selection by using coin flips and die rolls to determine mutations that arise in subsequent generations of a straw and paper loop bird.  Non-competitive.

  • Two-Point Discrimination (middle and high school) [.pdf] [.doc]

    Description:  An experimental design activity that involves pairs of students gently poking different body parts to determine their two-point discrimination thresholds,collecting data and answering experimental questions.  This activity requires very few materials.  Non-competitive.


  • Creating a Periodic Table (high school)  Description:  Students work as a team to group and rank the elements and look for patterns in the data to create a periodic table like Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev did in 1869.  They infer data for undiscovered elements and create a 1928 version of the periodic table by analyzing elemental properties. Non-competitive.
  • Sunken Treasure (middle school) [.pdf] [.doc]

    Description:  A design activity that involves the use of a chemical reaction to make a small container sink in a water tank and then, after approximately 10 seconds, rise to the surface again.  Competitive.

    Special Requirements:  This activity involves water and harmless chemicals.  Eye protection is required.


  • Wind-powered Vehicles: [.pdf] [.doc]

    Description: Students make a wind-powered vehicle and collect data to measure the distance the vehicle can travel in a marked roadway. The team with the farthest distance traveled within the roadway wins. Competitive.


  • Rover Landing (middle school) [.pdf] [.doc]

    Description:  A design activity that involves cushioning an egg during a drop to simulate the landing of a rover on a planet.  Competitive.

    Special Requirements:  During this activity, eggs will often get broken inadvertently.  The eggs are kept in a ziploc bag to contain the mess.  To cut down on cost, the directions specify a limit of 3 eggs per team.  You can reduce or increase this as you want.  If the students are to follow the design-test-improve model of engineering design, though, they will need more than one egg.

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