For Individual Volunteers, NOT Groups

Officiate for the virtual Maine High School Science Bowl

2023 Maine High School Science Bowl Champion: Cape Elizabeth High School team (coach Amy de Vries (left) pictured with four students (alphabetically by last name: Ainsley Fremont, Ben Le, Zoe Matzkin, and Trevor Oakley) holding their


  • Saturday 3/09/2024, 9:25am to 4:15pm or to 7:15pm
  • Rain or shine.
  • Sign up by 2/23/2024
    ~3 volunteers are still needed.


Foster enthusiasm for learning by keeping time, keeping score, recognizing students who buzz in, monitoring competitors and coaches on video, and judging science, judging rules, and moderating.

This fast-paced question-and-answer competition on subjects* across biology, chemistry, earth and space science, physics, energy, and math will engage high school student teams from throughout Maine.

PMD will be hosting this virtual competition for the National Science Bowl. Matches will be played head-to-head by teams in zoom, using a web-based lockout buzzer system with latency correction.

*Questions are roughly at the college freshman level.

While no science/engineering knowledge is required to serve as a recognizer, scorekeeper, timekeeper, and monitor, a positive and supportive attitude and attention to detail are very important for all roles.

We need volunteer question readers/moderators, science judges, rules judges, recognizers, timekeepers, scorekeepers, and monitors:

  • Moderators Read questions clearly and maintain the pace of the game and the competition room. Must demonstrate excellent public speaking skills and mastery of technology during training/selection process. While one computer is OK, two are ideal so that you will not risk accidentally screen sharing the questions and answers. Moderators are also required to serve as zoom meeting host, for which "how to" instructions will be provided. Prior competition experience as a competitor and/or official is strongly recommended since this person runs the competition zoom meeting.
  • Science Judges Ensure that Moderators read the questions and answer choices accurately. When needed, help Moderator decide whether an answer is correct. Address scientific challenges. Sometimes review/correct questions in advance of competition Strong STEM background required.
  • Recognizers Control lockout buzzer software and verbally recognize p who buzzes in. Requires very reliable internet connection and computer. Fast reactions are critical.
  • Rules Judges Take attendance and ensure consistent screen name usage. Maintain order in the competition rooms, enforce rules, respond to challenges to the rules, and issue warnings. Also cross-train and serve as Scorekeepers and/or Timekeepers during the competition day if needed.
  • Scorekeepers Track and record the teams' scores throughout the game on a google spreadsheet that is shared with teams within zoom. Obtain team captains' confirmation of final score and team winner in zoom chat. Check and submit final scores/scoresheet spreadsheet. Also cross-train and alternate as Rules Judges during the competition day if possible.
  • Timekeepers Mark the game time with an online clock and shared scoresheet that are selectively screen-shared with teams within zoom. Issue loud verbal warnings before time runs out.
  • Monitors Visually observe competitors in zoom to ensure that they are not consulting outside sources of information. Help rules judge enforce rules.

Learn more about the National Science Bowl organized by the US Department of Energy at



Note: We only shares zoom links, schedules, and other details with registered volunteers and teams since we cannot accommodate any observers/audience members or walk-ins, i.e., unregistered volunteers or teams.


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl® (NSB) is a nation-wide academic competition that tests students’ knowledge in science and mathematics.
Typically, about 9,000 high school students from 1,500 teams compete in 65 high school regional events across the country.

This virtual competition will provide Maine high school students with fun opportunities to test their knowledge and understanding of math and science, plus collaborate on all of their answers.

This is an official regional competition organized and hosted by nonprofit People Making a Difference (PMD) so that a high school team from Maine will definitely compete in the in-person national finals. PMD aims to strengthen the community, including STEM education, by engaging volunteers as officials and role models. PMD has hosted all of the virtual Blue Lobster Bowl (BLB; MA) and Quahog Bowl (CT & RI) regional competitions (and all prior in-person BLB competitions at MIT) for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), also founded by Admiral James D. Watkins a few years after he founded the National Science Bowl (NSB).



A 1-hour zoom orientation/training session AND a 2-hour zoom practice session for the 2024 Bay Scallop Bowl or Blue Lobster Bowl competition of the NOSB or in the following NSB-specific sessions:
  • Trainings: Tuesday 2/20 and Thursday 2/22, 6:30pm and 8pm
  • Practices: Saturday 2/24, 2-4pm and 4-6pm; Sunday 2/25, 12noon-2pm and 2-4pm

To officiate, apply by 2/17 at

Incomplete submissions cannot be honored.

We canNOT accept any UNregistered volunteers.

Participation is required for the entire project shift for which you sign up.

AFTER the 2/17 application deadline, interested volunteers can join the backup list, since we anticipate cancellations due to illnesses.
Joining the PMD backup list means making a commitment to reserve the shift and training night you select until the date you provide.

Call PMD if you cannot apply using our form.
If you experience any difficulty applying online to volunteer with PMD, please immediately CALL THE PMD OFFICE at (*82) 1-781-963-0373 so that we can help you AND troubleshoot the problem so that other potential volunteers will not face the same problem. Thanks!

After you apply, you will see a confirmation screen and receive a confirmation email message, so be sure to save the training-practice and competition dates and times on your calendars AND add AND to your address/white/allow list.

Then a few days before your training session and this competition PMD will email specific details, what to wear/expect, checklist, important links/downloads, etc.



High school student teams from Maine will compete virtually for the opportunity to represent Maine in the national finals competition in-person in Washington, DC, 4/25-29.

People Making a Difference (PMD) is a nonprofit organization that promotes informed and responsible volunteerism by involving people in tangible work that meets local needs and by assisting companies in building successful community involvement programs that:
  • Produce appreciable results while conserving recipients' limited resources
  • Educate volunteers about broader issues
  • Bring people together to make a difference



What Participants Say About Competing in the NSB

"NSB allows students to 'find their tribe,' which could mean everything to a student."


“It’s the things outside of the classroom where you really get to put your heart and soul into it.”

“...if you need encouragement as an educator.”

“ be reminded of (my) goal to lift up society.”

“(The students’) thirst for knowledge is incredible.”

“(The students’) drive to learn more made me want to learn more." “It’s crazy how (the students) are teaching each other.”

"Thanks to you and the volunteers for organizing a well-run meet."
Coach Glenn Evans, Mt. Ararat High School Coach 2023


“(standard science) classes weren’t enough for my curiosity.”

“...a reason to study other topics of interest.”

“...for kids who want to go the extra mile.”

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