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Students out of their minds after national tournament win



3 Oct, 2022




thumbnail 19 MF-TOMS copy-918After winning a national tournament with their creativity and outside-the-square thinking, seven fine young local minds are set to compete in a prestigious international challenge of the cerebral kind.

Mangawhai Beach School (MBS) Year 8 students Micaiah Cochrane, Lili Gallo, Emily Harvey-Lovell, Nerin Jackson, Paul Karnapke, Max Senior and Hunter Sim, won their division of the Tournament of Minds (TOM) national contest, held at Victoria University in Wellington on September 17, the first win of its kind for the school.

Running for over twelve years and involving over 100 schools and thousands of school children, TOMs is an international creative problem-solving programme for primary and secondary year students, testing four disciplines – STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) social sciences, arts and literature – and encourages cooperative learning, experimentation and risk-taking as well as fostering a ‘spirit of inquiry and love of learning’. To compete, students have to create a ten minute presentation to the judges in their chosen discipline with the competition progressing from regionals to national and then international level.

Mangawhai Beach School’s winning demonstration was a dramatic performance involving research, acting, scriptwriting, costume design and a storyteller akin to David Attenborough, about a team of fictional archaeologists who discover a huge stone circle in Sierra Leone similar to Stonehenge, said MBS Gifted and Talented Specialist Teacher Julia Mitchell.

“The ‘archaeologists’ had to work out why it took so long to discover as well as the cultural significance, and discovered it was a place of prayer for ancestors to seek help about the environment, and finding the stone again meant they too could pray for the healing of climate change,” she says. “The students research had real examples of stone circles and Sierra Leone was chosen as it is the most circular country in the world. It was incredible how they brought the story together, it was a fun challenge.”

The Wellington judges were especially impressed Julia says, with how the students paid close attention to the criteria, demonstrated excellent teamwork and clear evidence of established roles amongst team members, as well as having a ‘next level of sophistication in their language use and performance skills’.

The talented group are now focused on the international competition set in Canberra, Australia from October 14-16, to test their ingenuity and skill against their counterparts from across the ditch, as well as children from around the globe including South Africa, Hong Kong, Thailand and Uganda. The TOMs team and supporters are already proactive with fundraising and a number of events are in progress including a Pizza Saturday, Donut Disco, bake sale and movie day with Te Whai Community Trust, as well as setting up a give-a-little page.

thumbnail 19 MF-TOMS1 copy-858Another MBS group also came close to a national win after placing second in the STEM division at the TOMs Auckland regional competition on September 3, with their presentation of a rotating platform displaying a ‘300 gram nugget of gold' and an explorative story about how the artist Hundertwasser may have used gold in his artistic and environmental pursuits.

Julia says she has been in awe of the creative ideas the students presented and feels extremely proud of their accomplishments.

“It's been a privilege to work with all the students who came into the challenges with a diverse set of skills and talents, and everyone contributed to the success on the day. I believe one of the attributes in both teams that lead to their success is their ability to self-reflect. They were able to identify their individual strengths and challenges, and developed strategies to support each other throughout the competition,” she says.

“The winning team were particularly adept at this and I believe they have all learned a lot about themselves as a result of this experience. Winning in Wellington is a testament to all the MBS community, who are providing a supportive, enriching and engaging learning environment for brilliant minds to thrive. It has been humbling and inspiring to see the wider community rally around these kids to support them and celebrate their success, and to encourage them to push boundaries and stay curious.”

n Interested in supporting the TOMs team’s trip to Australia? Contact Julia Mitchell, jmitchell@mangawhaibeach.school.nz or visit givealittle.co.nz/cause/toms-internationals-here-we-come



Winning in Wellington is a testament to all the MBS community, who are providing a supportive, enriching and engaging learning environment for brilliant minds to thrive.

– Julia Mitchell



A team of remarkable minds are set to compete on the world stage after winning their division at the Tournament of Minds nationals in Wellington recently.

Rewarded for their creativity, attention to detail, and teamwork were (pictured from left) Mangawhai Beach School Year 8 students Nerin Jackson, Emily Harvey-Lovell, Hunter Sim, Max Senior, Paul Karnapke, Micaiah Cochrane, and Lili Gallo. PHOTO/SUPPLIED



Winning smiles all around at the Wellington national champs, including MBS Gifted and Talented Specialist Teacher Julia Mitchell. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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