The Tournament of Minds is a problem solving competition for teams in Primary and Secondary divisions. Each team gets to choose a challenge from a set of disciplines, then come up with a creative and innovative way to solve the challenge and perform their solution in front of a panel of judges. This competition is held at the University of the Sunshine Coast annually.
The students selected for our Primary School team were Jasper Tait, Arno Mens, Lize Kasselman, Josiah Monos, Dominique Doolan, Kaitlin Morris and Aimee Cullen. They chose to compete in the Maths/Engineering category that required them to create a machine that could selectively choose the right people to go on a trip to Mars. Together, they had to come with a solution and create the performance all by themselves. No outside assistance was allowable, and they had six weeks to prepare for the competition.
On the competition day, each team has a ten-minute period to do their presentation in a defined area of 3m x 3m. The judges award points for a number of criteria, and the team has to respond to questions about their device in the process. After the Long-Term Challenge is complete, the students move to another room where they are given another challenge to solve. This challenge is unknown to them and they have a short time to work together and come up with some possible solutions. The scores from both challenges are then added together to decide which team was the best on the day. Our students did not win this year; however, it was a great experience that some of the members may get to try again next year.
The six-week program gave us valuable life lessons as we collaborated and solved problems, working towards a defined goal. We even had time to have a bit of fun and laughter along the way. Nothing could have been achieved unless all of the team members contributed their set of skills and expertise to the process. Well done students!
NB: The featured photo shows the team speaking to the judges just after the completion of their presentation.