St Paul’s Tournament of the Minds success

St Pauls’ Primary School, Rutherford has achieved a sensational success by making it to the Tournament of the Minds State Finals!

The Tournament of Minds is a problem-solving program for teams of students from both primary and secondary years. The aim of the tournament 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 Literature and Social Sciences.

St Paul’s entered two teams and both chose to complete in the Language Literature challenge of the competition – which involves in-depth analysis and research of texts from a variety of fields.   

Teacher nominated students from Years 3 to 6 to be part of a lunch time enrichment group focusing on critical and creative thinking skills and drama. The students met weekly during Term 3 with 14 students chosen to be part of the two teams who entered the competition.

The challenge was to choose a book and write a persuasive pitch to a panel of judges to convince them to make their book into a movie. Their presentation also included a short sample scene from the movie they would create. Their solution to the challenge was to be presented in the form of a 10-minute dramatic play. Teachers and parents were not allowed to help with the solution to the challenge in any way – all ideas, scripts and props had to come entirely from the team. 

On the day of the competition, teams were also given a ‘spontaneous challenge’ – the same challenge is given to all teams. Teams read the challenge by the judges and are given four-minutes to come up with a solution, with points awarded for team work and creative thinking. Teams are then given one-minute to present their answer to the judges. 

Both teams worked tirelessly for five weeks, giving up their recess and lunch times to work with Mrs Preece to prepare for the challenge.

On 26 August, the teams travelled to Newcastle Grammar School to compete in the regional finals. Both teams performed extremely well and did St Paul’s proud.

There were seven other teams competing in their division with only one team from the division being chosen to represent our region at state level - and it was one of the St Paul’s teams! 

The team members are Karla Roets (Year 6), Skye Hedges (Year 6), Eliza Callinan (Year 6), Elizabeth Ross (Year 6), Emily Hague (Year 5), Natasha Hague (Year 4) and Madison Fenton (Year 3).

These students travelled to the University of New South Wales in Sydney to represent our region at the Tournament of Minds State Finals on 9 September.

In this stage of the competition they were given a new challenge and just three hours on the day of the competition to solve it and write their 10-minute presentation. 

While they didn’t win the competition, they performed extremely well.

We are so proud of all the students at St Paul’s who competed.

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