Tournaments of the Mind – Challenging the World

01 Sep 2017

Fifty-Five teams from Woolgoolga to Gloucester and as far as Dorrigo came together on Sunday 27 August for the Tournaments of the Mind (TOM).

TOM is a problem-solving program for teams of students from both primary and secondary years. The competition requires teams of students to solve demanding challenges from the disciplines of Science Technology, Engineering Mathematics, Social Sciences and Language Literature.

Working in teams, students choose their challenge in the discipline of their choice using effective problem-solving, thinking outside the square and use of technology.

Student teams are required to work on their challenge over a six week period without assistance from teachers, parents or peers. They are encouraged to explore possibilities and experiment with ideas to produce the best solution to their challenge.

Teams are made up of seven students. In secondary school teams, two of the team need to be Year 7 students. This tournament allows students to develop skills in team building, communication and relationship building.

Students present their ideas and their solution to a panel of judges and audiences where they will be given ten minutes to present in a 3-metre by 3 metre performance area.

Ian Ross Principal said “TOM is another example of a dynamic, student-centred program that aims to enhance the potential of our youth by developing future focused skills such as time management, problem-solving, confidence and working collaboratively within a team environment.

“This is one of the many ways in which Hastings Secondary College is leading the way in creating positive learning environments for their students,” added Mr Ross.

Students also partipated in a Spontaneous Challenge on the day, which means they are given four minutes to come up with the most creative solution to the problem raised. This issue requires rapid interchange of ideas, the ability to think creatively as well as advanced group cooperation skills.

This year 45 professional judges were chosen from all areas of education, the arts, industry, community and past students. Judges were looking for multiple ways in which teams solve problems to their challenges.

Tournament of the Minds is only as strong as the enormous volunteer base supporting it. Over 60 volunteers from our community, including 20 Hastings Secondary College students, retirees, university students, past students of the tournament and members of Rotary gave up their time to engage, mentor and assist with the day.