Science Word

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Science Word
Nature of Science & Lab Event
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This event was not held recently in Division C

Science Word is an event where participants must guess a specific word relating to different scientific topics. It was run as a trial event in both Texas and Colorado during 2013, and run again as a trial in Texas in 2018. Science Word was last held nationally in 2008.


A team of two is given a stack of 40 terms. In an alternating fashion, each member guesses at the words. One member gives their partner 1 to 2 word clues and is unable to give them another clue until they have guessed. Each member alternates between the roles of clue giver and guesser. There are 4 minutes to guess the 40 terms. The team with the most terms guessed at the end of the 4 minutes wins. The terms will be no longer than 2 words (i.e. partial lunar eclipse would not be a term) although a hyphenated word counts as one word (i.e. sea-floor spreading would be allowed). Also, the words may not be proper nouns, however, proper nouns MAY be given as clues. Additionally, it is not permitted to use the science word as one of the clue words.


One point is given to every correct term. The team with the most points wins.

There are 4 events that can break the tie.

  1. Longest String of Correct Words
  2. Getting the first word right passed by the other team.
  3. Fewest Terms passed.
  4. Shortest Period of time.


  • Like many events, practice is the key to winning.
  • It helps to know your partner. It is not advised to go into this event without preparation; this event is worth as much as any other.
  • In the beginning, practice for speed to try to reduce "um"-ing and stalling, and being quicker to say "next" if the word is too difficult.
  • Practices should be conducted both with and without a timer to adapt into the 4-minute limit.
  • Terms can be narrowed down from broad to specific and should range in difficulty.
  • One should consider categorizing terms into sets.
  • Terms that are too hard or complex should be passed. However, one should refrain from passing too many terms in practice or competition to still gain points.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected; how the event is run at each competition may vary. To reflect this it is best if with partners practice back to back, face to face, or with some sort of screen in between them. The terms might be given to in many forms (note cards, strips of paper, or a big sheet of paper shown to only one partner). It is recommended to practice with all of them.


  • Try going through science textbooks' glossaries with your teammate, and saying the words that could be used as clues. Discussing clues for new terms helps you understand the way your partner thinks. This is important preparation for it is unknown what terms may come up during a competition.
  • Continuously collect new terms with your partner to incorporate into your practices. (Internet glossaries are very useful)
  • Taboo or a similar game can be played to help one further understand a partner's thought processes and prepare for unexpected terms at a competition.
  • An in-team competition can be held to help those in Science Word discern which types of clues are best.

At Competition

  • It is advised to ask event supervisors about the rules that are up to their interpretation.
  • At the competition, partners should head to the event early to have some time to compose themselves.
  • The most important thing is to HAVE FUN. Avoid becoming too disappointed or frustrated.
  • 25+ generally guarantees a medal.


Picture This Words for practice; although designed for a different event, the content is very similar.
Most recently used trial rules in Texas