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Tournament of Minds 2019

Saturday 31 August saw the culmination of five weeks of creative work by fourteen ambitious students from across Years 4, 5 and 6. Forming two teams, these fourteen students accepted the challenge of participating in the Tournament of Minds, a new experience for each of them.


Tournament of Minds is a problem solving program for teams of students from both primary and  secondary years. Tournament's aim is to enhance the potential of our youth by developing diverse skills, enterprise, time management, and the discipline to work collaboratively within a challenging and competitive environment. They are required to solve demanding, open-ended challenges from one of the following disciplines: The Arts, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Language and Social Sciences.


Probably the most difficult aspect of participating in the Tournament of Minds is that the chosen challenge must be completed by the students within the team only, with no outside assistance. A close second on the difficulty scale was the need for each team to be able to work as a cohesive unit. Teamwork is not an easy thing to develop when thrown together with people from other classes and other Year groups. After a bit of a rough start, both of these teams came together really well.


To say that I am extremely proud of both of these teams is an understatement. As a T.O.M newbie myself, I didn’t know what to expect as a final product from the students. What they produced, as I said all by themselves, was terrific!! Both teams chose to attempt the ‘Arts’ challenge, requiring them to tell the story of the ‘Wizard of Aus’ as if the story was set in our own State, Territory or Country. The story needed to resemble the original narrative in that the characters had obstacles to overcome whilst complying with a chosen theme for the play.


Of course a play is nothing if it remains a script. Our teams had to create and build their own costumes and sets, learn their lines and work out how to present their ‘solution’ all confined within a 3 metre x 3 metre square, and then set-up and acted within a 10 minute time limit. Quite the challenge!!


These students, with the most appreciated support of their parents, spent many of their own lunchtimes, plus Wednesday afternoons outside of school time to produce their final presentation. Their commitment to their teams was amazing.


In the end, neither team progressed through to the NSW State Finals, but this does not diminish my admiration for their efforts. A massive thank you goes out to the parents who supported the project, doing late afternoon pick-ups from school, trips to help with supplies, the transportation of props and coming out on a Saturday to see the final presentations. Well done to each of the students, you did yourselves proud.

Danial Ollis
Teacher Librarian, iCentre Manager


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