St Andrews students go Down Under for Tournament of Minds

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On the 13th of October, 5 students from St Andrews flew to Australia to compete in the Australasian Pacific Finals of the TOM held at The University of New South Wales. Team T.A.4.U. (St Andrews) were the winners of the Maths and Engineering competition in Thailand which qualified them to compete in the Australasian pacific Finals. With over 20,000 students competing in TOM this year from: Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Thailand; our students did an amazing job to make it into the last 10 teams.

During our time in Australia, we carried out a number of team building exercises with the only other school from Thailand (I.S.B.) to compete in the 2015 finals. We went on numerous educational visits, including a tour around Sydney, The Harbour Bridge Museum, tour of The Rocks, The Ken Done Art Gallery, Matilda the Musical, Bondi Beach, The Observatory, and a visit to The National Maritime Museum (including a tour of H.M.S. Endeavour and H.M.A.S. Vampire). It was a wonderful experience for St. Andrews and I.S.B. students.

St Andrews students travelled to Sydney to compete in the Pacific finals for Tournament of the Minds.

The actual tournament took part over the 16th- 17th October and students were expected to take part in a photo ‘selfie’ competition on a boat tour of Sydney Harbour. Students had to take as many selfies as they could with other teams and feature a famous landmark of Sydney in each picture. It was great fun and a fabulous way to make friends with so many new students from around the globe. We also had the opportunity to listen to an inspiring and emotional presentation from one of the founding members of Sydney’s ‘Clown Doctors’. This organisation aims to empower seriously sick children, so that they feel more confident with the interaction and less intimidated by the environment around them in hospital.

The standard of competition was extremely high.

On the 17th October, teams had to work without any teacher/outside support to complete a ‘blind challenge’. They had 3 hours and were given a range of resources to create a 10 minute presentation – to be performed to an audience of about 200 people and judged by experts on the following task: ‘Convince a team of doubting public that the bending of light can be explained by the stretching of space using models which investigate these ideas.’

Students had three hours to develop a solution and a ten minute dramatic performance in which to demonstrate their solution. They also had to create their own props and costumes from a limited supply of materials, and solve a ‘spontaneous challenge’ during their preparation time.

St. Andrews was one of two schools from Thailand represented at TOM.

The standard of competition was extremely high, and while our teams did not bring home an award in the maths and engineering challenge, they did come home with many new skills, some wonderful new memories and many new friendships. This was a life changing trip and the students should be acknowledged for how enthusiastically and courageously the represented themselves, their families, St. Andrews and Thailand in the tournament. They are true role models to others and should be congratulated on their achievements.