Submitting Science Trivia Questions
We get our questions from a variety of sources, including MIT alumni/ae and affiliates, scientists, and staff members at science-based institutions and organizations. If you think you have good material for a science trivia question, think about submitting it and it might get used!
The only rule (and it should be an obvious one) is that if you submit a question, you cannot participate in the competition!
Before Submitting a Question ...
First, check out the Quiz Format to get a sense of how the quiz works. The competition is run like a pub quiz - there is no buzzer and every team has the same amount of time (usually 30 seconds) to come up with its best answer. Also note that there are separate High School and Middle School Divisions, so questions should be appropriate for students in either grades 6-8 or grades 9-12.
Also take a look at the Sample Questions
to get a sense of what kind of questions we've used in the past.
Then, to help guide you, read the Seven Simple Guidelines below.
Very Good Science Trivia Questions ...
1. Should be about TRIVIA FACTS, not academic
things like quantitative reasoning problems. Pure "textbook" knowledge
should be avoided if possible.
2. Should be geared towards a GENERAL AUDIENCE,
and should not require specialized knowledge (such as a Ph.D. in a
particular area of science). Topics should be
appropriate to high-school or middle-school science knowledge.
3. Can be about virtually ANY SCIENTIFIC TOPIC,
including physics, chemistry, biology, environmental sciences,
astronomy, computer science, medicine, applied math, technology,
history of science, or inventors. Often the best questions are ones
that branch across different topics in science or that don't relate to
any specific topic at all.
4. Should include a SOURCE or REFERENCE to confirm
that the facts are accurate (Wikipedia is OK in many cases, but more
authoritative sources are appreciated as well).
5. Can be MULTIPLE-CHOICE, SHORT ANSWER or
MATCHING, and can be SINGLE-PART or
MULTIPART with partial credit for each partial answer (NB:
multipart questions should ideally have either 2, 5 or 10 parts so
that points can be divided easily -- but we can be flexible if the
question is good and naturally divides into another number of
6. Should have an EXACT and UNAMBIGUOUS answer (to
minimize the need for discretionary scoring on the part of the
7. The Cambridge Science Festival highlights the
importance of science in the community. We welcome questions that have
some broader interest to the community, perhaps on a topic of interest
in the news, or a story that has some local historic interest, or that
is in some way related to everyday life.
To Submit a Question
Please note the following:
- You may submit up to ten questions total.
- If you submit any questions, you cannot participate as a contestant in the Science Trivia Challenge.
- The question editors reserve the right to change your question in any way for the purpose of using it in the competition.
- If any of your material is used in the Science Trivia Challenge, you will be aknowledged in the program.
Use the form below to provide information about yourself and submit your questions. Please submit one question at a time.
To exit Question Submissions, click here: Exit.