Clever kids solve big problems

GREAT MINDS: Tournament of Minds winners from Modanville Public School (back row, l-r) Elka Worts, Rachael Barlow, Rachel Cooper; (front row, l-r) Claire Farrington, Darby Boucher, Tiffany Hull and Marley Borrow.
GREAT MINDS: Tournament of Minds winners from Modanville Public School (back row, l-r) Elka Worts, Rachael Barlow, Rachel Cooper; (front row, l-r) Claire Farrington, Darby Boucher, Tiffany Hull and Marley Borrow.

AFTER being locked in a room together for three hours with a mystery box full of props, seven children from Modanville Public School were challenged to come up with an innovative answer to a perplexing problem.

Not only did they solve the problem, but earlier this month they presented their solution as an entertaining song and dance routine and went on to win the NSW state final of Tournament of Minds.

Tournament of Minds is a problem-solving program where primary and secondary school students are required to solve open-ended challenges and can choose the manner in which they present their solutions.

Between them, the Modanville students from Years 5 and 6 combined their strengths and have created a team that can create costumes, useful props and can make up rhyming verses to well-known tunes, all in the name of creative problem-solving.

Modanville Public School teacher and Tournament of Minds facilitator Heather Laverick said she was proud of how well the students from a small school with only 100 students performed against large schools from across the state.

"In the Tournament of Minds, the students are presented with a number of challenges, including the 'lockout' challenge," Ms Laverick said. "In the regional tournament, the students had six weeks to solve a high-order challenge surrounding the history of applied technology, without any help from the teachers. It gives them a chance to demonstrate their skills and talents in an exciting and vibrant way."

The children's winning performance included a clever look at what applied technology was - to the tune of the song Bohemian Rhapsody.

The students are now getting ready for a trip to Perth next week to represent NSW at the Australasian Pacific Final of Tournament of Minds. Ms Laverick has been setting them a number of challenges and the children are rising to the task. This weekend, the school is holding fundraising activities to help with the costs of the trip to Perth.

On Saturday, October 13, the children and their families are catering for a film night at Dunoon Hall where the movie Hugo will be screened at 7.30pm. On Sunday the school will hold a car wash and everyone is invited.

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