2020 Entomology Games: A Virtual Version of ESA's Annual Competition

This year’s Entomology Games seek to ensure a fair, fun competition for all participants and an enjoyable event for virtual attendees! The ESA Entomology Games Committee has been adaptable and creative to develop the guidelines for our annual competition. Some aspects of the competition will feel familiar, but some will be quite different than the in-person competition. A single preliminary round with all teams competing will be conducted. The teams advancing from the preliminary round will compete in a final, synchronous round that will be showcased during the virtual ESA Meeting.

We have retained most of the eligibility requirements for the traditional Entomology Games. Currently enrolled students, or those who graduated less than a year ago, are eligible to participate. The minimum team size is two participants and maximum team size is five, however, only four participants can compete in any given round of the games (the fifth participant is designated as an alternate, to fill in for another team member who is unable to participate). All participants must be registered for the virtual annual meeting.

Traditionally a team is comprised of students from the same university or institution, but in the spirit of encouraging intercollegiate collaboration, we are changing this rule for the virtual competition. If a student attends a university that does not have enough participants to field a team, we invite them to form a team with students from other schools that similarly lack a full-sized team. These intercollegiate teams must be comprised of students from the same Branch.

Individuals and teams must sign up by Thursday, 1 October 2020. Registered teams will receive a link to a mock-quiz example that will take teams through the rules of the games and the virtual process of recording answers to questions. Answers will be recorded and submitted via the third-party website WikiQuiz.org.

We want to encourage a fair and safe competition. We emphasize the importance of honesty and integrity during this event – cheating will not be tolerated, and we hope competitors will put forth their best effort without using external resources including non-team members, books, the internet, etc. We also want to emphasize the importance of safety, and we encourage teams to practice social distancing while competing (i.e., communicating virtually instead of meeting in the same physical location).

The traditional Branch meeting rounds and ESA Annual Meeting preliminary rounds will be combined into a single preliminary round to take place Thursday, 5 November 2020 – the questions will be available on WikiQuiz from 1PM EST/10AM PST until 6PM EST/3PM PST. Even though this is a five-hour time window, teams must complete the preliminary round within two hours of accessing the questions (e.g., if you begin at 1:30 PM, you are required to submit your answers before 3:30 PM).

This preliminary round will consist of a single set of 50 questions: five questions each from the typical ten categories (Biological Control, Behavior & Ecology, Economic & Applied Entomology, Medical Urban & Veterinary Entomology, Morphology & Physiology, Biochemistry & Toxicology, Systematics & Evolution, IPM & Insect/Plant Interactions, History of Entomology, and Entomology in Popular Culture). All team members can confer on each question, and one answer for each question will be entered by the team captain. All questions will be worth the same amount of points, and there will be no penalties for wrong answers. There will also be an additional tiebreaker question with a numerical answer (e.g., “How many people have served as ESA president?”). If the team scores are tied after the 50-question round is graded, the tie will be broken in favor of the team whose response to the tiebreaker is closest to the correct answer.

The preliminary round will be graded by members of the Entomology Games Committee and a panel of three judges on Friday, 6 November 2020. All judges’ decisions are final.

The two highest-scoring teams from each Branch will move to the final round. Three additional teams with the highest overall score in the preliminary round will also advance as 'wildcards' to the final round. Teams advancing to the final round will be announced Monday, 9 November 2020.

The final round of the Entomology Games will take place Monday, 16 November 2020 starting at 7 PM EST/4 PM PST. The final round will consist of 40 questions: four questions from each of the ten categories used in the preliminary round. In the event of a tie, there will be a number-related tie-breaker question similar in structure to the preliminary round.

The final round will take place over Zoom, and individuals from each team will be grouped together in their own Team Zoom Room to confer together on four rounds of questions (sets of 10). Competitors will log into Zoom 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the event to be sorted into their respective rooms. When the competition begins, all individuals will be in the main Zoom Room. Ten questions, one from each category, will then be read by the Gamesmaster. After the questions are read, participants will breakout into their Team Zoom Rooms and have five minutes to discuss and answer those 10 questions. Team captains will submit answers through Wikiquiz before all participants return to the main Zoom Room. Once all teams have returned to the main Zoom Room and all teams have submitted answers, the answers to that round and the questions for the next set of questions will then be announced. This process will be repeated for the next three rounds. In the event of a team contesting an answer to a question, team captains will be provided the opportunity to submit their reasoning. The contested question will only be viewed by the Entomology Games Committee, judges, and the individual team submitting the claim. The resulting judges’ decision for that question will be reflected in all teams’ scores. Once judging all four sets of questions is completed, the first- and second-place teams will be announced. First- and second- place teams will also be recognized at the Student Awards Session on Wednesday, 18 November of the Virtual Annual Meeting.

Throughout the competition, Branch Gamesmasters and other Entomology Games Committee members will be available to help with any technological questions.

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