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Tournament of Minds

St Catherine’s School has been involved in Tournament of Minds for many years. It has provided students with a chance to test their problem-solving skills and work collaboratively with a group of like-minded students.

It was the first day of Term 3 and the students participating in the Tournament of Minds competition were faced with the task of selecting a challenge which, in two teams of seven, they would work on for the next six weeks.

Long-term challenges fall into one of four categories: Language Literature, Social Science, Maths Engineering and Science Technology. Choosing a challenge would be the first of many decisions the teams would need to make. It required good communication and unified learning. That is what Tournament of Minds is about.

The team members came from Years 7, 8 and 10. For some, it was the first time they had had the opportunity to work with students from another Year level. The students who had participated before took on the role of mentors to the new students. Tournament of Minds is not only about teamwork and communication – it is also about leadership and encouraging fellow students to do their best.

When the teams had decided on their challenge, they began the task of solving their problem. This involved coming up with a creative response and writing a script for a 10 minute performance. One group, who chose the Science Technology challenge, had to create a scenario for survivors of a catastrophic event which included devising a machine that would send a coded message.

The other group, who chose the Language Literature challenge, had to bring together a cast of well-known characters from books, films and songs and imagine a scene in which the characters revealed their true personalities. At first, the competition seemed a long time away, but the six weeks went quickly and suddenly the day arrived.

On a Sunday morning in the middle of August, Deakin University’s Burwood campus swarmed with primary and secondary students, carrying large cardboard cut-outs and boxes with a range of props and costumes. Having registered and submitted the required forms (cost, outside assistance, presentation skills) the St Catherine’s School’s teams made their way to their allocated rooms. Here, they performed their long-term challenge in front of two judges and an audience of friends and family. When they finished their presentation, the excitement was not over. They still needed to compete in a spontaneous challenge where they were given an unseen problem to solve in four minutes. Once again, skills of cooperation and creativity were brought into play.

St Catherine’s School has been involved in Tournament of Minds for many years. It has provided students with a chance to test their problem-solving skills and work collaboratively with a group of like-minded students. Here are some of the comments made by participants this year:

“What we ultimately learnt was to work as a team and complete the script with the help of every single member of the group, not just one member,” Catherine Liu

I really enjoyed working with girls from other Year levels and by the end of it I knew them all much better. Tournament of Minds is a fun and great way to get involved in Co-curricular activities and I highly recommend it,” Elodie Ferrali

“My favourite part was actually the spontaneous challenge which is a picture they give you, or a described location and objects, and you have to link them together,” Georgie Rolfe

“I loved the idea of working as a team instead of individual work because that meant everyone had a responsibility,” Mayuri Muralidharan

One of the objectives of Tournament of Minds is to ‘stimulate a spirit of enquiry and a love of learning’. For the students who have competed in the competition, this has certainly been the case.

 

Mrs Kim Waters

English Teacher

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