The Tournament of Minds is a problem-solving competition for teams in Primary and Secondary divisions. Each team gets to choose a challenge from one of the four disciplines, then come up with a creative and innovative way to perform their solution in front of a panel of judges. In this competition we would be competing against teams from private and public schools across the Sunshine Coast region. The teams only get six weeks to prepare their presentation, and they have to do this without any direct outside assistance.
The students selected from Primary to represent the College for the Tournament of Minds were Dominique Doolan, Brooke Gledhill, Oscar Hinds, Aimee Cullen, Euan Caldwell and Chloe Turnbull. They chose to do the Arts challenge, requiring them to write and perform a musical that would appeal to all ages and be based upon the theme of freedom. Their ‘musical theatre production’ had to include a song from the 1960s, fashion from the 1980s, a dance from the 1920s and a piece of art from the 1940s. It would have a minimum of four songs.
During the preparation period the students had many meetings together to gather ideas and create a script for their presentation. They had to choose and learn some new or unfamiliar songs, learn dance routines and prepare costumes, stage props and multimedia. Additionally, the presentation could not exceed the 10 minutes allowed and it had to be performed in a 3-metre x 3-metre square.
The competition was held at the University of the Sunshine Coast at the end of Week 6. First up, we had to complete the Spontaneous Challenge. For this the team is given 3-4 minutes to respond to a short challenge, being judged for their group thinking skills and processes, ability to work as a team, and the complexity and creativity of the team’s responses. Teams practise for this part of the competition, however no one knows what the question will be until the team enters the challenge room on the day of the competition. Very soon this is all over but the students will not be allowed to tell anyone what the question was until after the end of the competition day.
Shortly after completing the Spontaneous Challenge the students moved to one of the lecture theatres to do their prepared presentation. This is a nervous period because the students have to be highly organised and to remember their parts. Family and friends watch on expectantly. In a short time, it is all over and the team has their interview with the judges. Everyone is smiling and they have done a very commendable performance.
We have only been competing in the Tournament of Minds for a comparatively short time compared to some of the teams from other schools. Each year we have been improving and adding to the quality of our presentations. We would like to thank those students who participated this year, for their many hours of effort, the new skills they learnt along the way, and the inspiration they provided to other students who may take up this challenge in future years.
Mark Bowman, Primary Teacher (Gifted and Talented Program)