Heading off to Canberra2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Royal Oak Primary and Intermediate schools both won national championships in the annual Tournament of Minds competition at Victoria University in September, with the Intermediate’s winning team heading to Canberra this month for the World Tournament of Minds.
Team Kevin, named after a minion from the Despicable Me movies, is currently fundraising for the trip to Canberra and have set up a Givealittle page for donations: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/team-kevin-is-going-to-canberra
The Tournament of Minds tests pupils’ problem-solving skills and teamwork. Teams are given complex tasks to complete, being marked on their research, planning, presentation and final solution. There are four categories; Language Literature, Social Sciences, The Arts and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
Three of the primary school’s teams won the Auckland regionals, with the intermediate’s STEM team also winning their regionals. Then, in Wellington, the intermediate’s STEM team and the primary’s Arts team won the nationals.
At the nationals, Team Kevin had only three hours to create a shield for a scientific instrument to protect it from a ‘meteor shower,’ using the flimsy materials supplied such as paper, cardboard and a wooden dowel. Their shield also had to be collapsible and reusable. When finished, rocks were thrown at the shield to test its efficiency.
Royal Oak Intermediate teacher, Miranda Steel, says the whole project builds the pupils’ confidence, teamwork and skills. She even taught one of the STEM teams to sew as part of their training.
Teams also had to be able to think quickly and solve spontaneous challenges set by the judges on the final day of the competition. At the regionals, they were asked what three things would they grow on trees if they could? Royal Oak Intermediate’s Arts team’s (Team Bob) answer was ‘human organs that could be used for transplants, cures for diseases and vegetables that taste like candy to help tackle obesity.’
At the nationals, the spontaneous challenge was to come up with an idea for a fourth emergency service. Their idea was ‘PPS’ Pet Protection Service, with the motto ‘Safe pets are happy pets.’
At both competitions, the Royal Oak teams were praised by the judges for their excellent teamwork, presentation and humour.