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Clever kids get ready for mind games

USQ Springfield will host the Tournament of Minds state final.
Some of the state’s brightest students will converge on USQ's Springfield campus this Sunday (September 15) for the Tournament of Minds state final.

Launched in Australia in 1987, the Tournament of Minds provides an opportunity for high-achieving students from both primary and secondary schools to test their communication, teamwork and creative thinking skills.

More than 350 students from 20 schools will compete in the disciplines of The Arts, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Language Literature and Social Sciences.

Queensland’s Tournament of Minds state director Mark Oliver, who is also an education lecturer at USQ, said the University was excited to host the state final.

He said problem solving was the name of the game with students marked on how well they can think outside the box.

“Tournament of Minds is a brilliant program that rewards and celebrates intellectual excellence, creativity and teamwork,” Mr Oliver said.

“It gives students who have a passion for learning and problem solving the chance to be challenged at a higher level than the school curriculum.

“They are encouraged to look beyond conventional thinking and push the boundaries when coming up with ideas and solutions.”

On Sunday, the 52 teams, each comprising seven students, will be tasked with two challenges. In the first challenge, the teams will have three hours and limited materials to solve a complex problem and present their solution to a panel of judges and an audience.

Following this, they will be given a spontaneous challenge with only five minutes to prepare their response.

“The idea is to get students to stretch their thinking and ability to work under pressure,” Mr Oliver said.

This is the first time USQ has hosted a Tournament of Minds event, and Mr Oliver hoped the exposure would encourage more schools in Ipswich and surrounding areas to participate in future events.

“Tournament of Minds aligns well with our educational goals at USQ of providing more enrichment opportunities that accommodate the needs of gifted and talented students, especially those in regional areas,” he said.

“By exposing them to a wider range of challenging and exciting learning opportunities, and allowing them to interact with other children with similar abilities or interests, these students will be more motivated to pursue their interests at a pace and level appropriate to their learning ability.”
Teacher student classroom
Mark Oliver says USQ is proud to host the Tournament of Minds state final.