Volunteer: Moderator

The Moderator is THE person responsible for controlling each match. It is important that you know how the game is played and fully understand all of the competition rules. Therefore, it is extremely important that you study the rules well in advance of the actual event.

Moderators must review the questions for clarity, accuracy, and pronunciation of scientific terms prior to the competition and provide comments to the TSB Coordinator. The TSB Coordinator will provide all reviewer comments to NSB officials to compile errata.

The questions in each subject area have been reviewed by at least two individuals with subject matter expertise to eliminate erroneous or ambiguous questions. In addition, a multiple-choice format for many of the questions has been selected. This eliminates more than one correct answer (it's either one of the choices or the response is wrong).

All Moderators should attend training at ORAU’s Pollard Auditorium. Please see the volunteer registration form for the date and time of this training. Moderators and Question Judges will discuss competition rules, format, questions, and NSB errata.

Be sure to read about the format of the Science Bowl.  Also read the descriptions of the other volunteers’ duties to understand how they support the Moderator’s role.


  • Introduce officials
  • Ask students to introduce themselves
  • Ask coaches to come to the front of the room, shake hands, and introduce themselves.
  • Read the Important Rules sheet at the start of each game. This will be located in your notebook.

Reading the Questions

  • Speak clearly, distinctly, and at a steady pace.
  • Announce whether the question is a toss-up or bonus question.
  • Announce the question number.
  • Announce the question category.
  • Announce whether the question is multiple choice or short answer.
  • Read the question.
  • If the question is interrupted, stop reading and say, “interrupt”.
  • Don't ask the Question Judge or other official how to pronounce a word or to read a question for you.
  • If a team correctly answers the toss-up question, then it is awarded the opportunity to answer a bonus question. After the bonus question, the round resumes with the next toss-up question.
  • Verbally recognize the student before she/he responds. Identify the student by announcing Team A or Team B and the participant ID (captain, 1, 2, or 3).
  • Fill out the official score sheet. Ensure completed score sheets are signed by the moderator, scorekeeper, and both team captains. A runner takes the overhead transparency and signed score sheet to Science Bowl Central.


  • If it's a toss-up question, the team members can only consult with each other using non-verbal communication. If it's a bonus question, verbal consultation is allowed but the team captain must answer.
  • The first answer always counts.
  • Incorrect pronunciations are confusing to the teams and reading questions at too slow a pace delays the match. Students and coaches expect the Moderator to keep the match moving along to read as many questions as possible in the allotted time; to speak clearly and distinctly; and to know the rules.

Important Reminder:
You will be provided secure access to the questions well in advance of the actual event. It is important for you to read all questions before the competition to ensure that you can read the questions clearly and distinctly during the match and that pronunciations of all scientific terms are correct.