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What is Tournament of Minds (TOM)? What
does it involve? Do you have to be smart?
These are just a few of the many questions I
get asked when I talk to students about TOM.
It is difficult to offer someone an insight into
TOM in a few sentences, but in short it is an
Australia-wide program which asks students
to work in teams and use creative problem
solving skills in a range of disciplines.
Each team of seven students tackles two
challenges – a six-week long term challenge
and an unseen spontaneous challenge.
TOM demands strong group work skills,
ingenuity, commitment and lateral thinking. It
also encourages participants to develop their
confidence, leadership skills and dramatic flair,
but you don’t have to be the next Archimedes
or Rhodes Scholar to benefit from participating
in this fantastic program.
“Working through group disputes is difficult
but very satisfying,” said Quinn O’Loughlin
(Year 7). “In the end we all work towards a
finished product we are all happy with. It’s a
great opportunity to develop leadership skills.”
Scotch Oakburn hosted the Tournament of
Minds’ State Final for the first time in August.
A sea of students from across the state
I’m Henry Napier from Year 8. I live on an
Angus beef farm in the north-east of the state.
This year I am doing a project called Inspire
Year 8 (IY8). The project revolves around the
six ‘Round Square IDEALS’ – internationalism,
democracy, environment, adventure, leadership
and service.The project must include 20 or
more hours of work and planning.
For my IY8 project I organised a low
stress stockhandling school (LSS) for the
next generation of Tasmanian beef and wool
producers – a group of 27 young people.
It was held in July at Simon and Penny
Foster’s property at Ross.
LSS schools have been held all over
Australia and the world but none for people
like me. The schools started in America with a
man named Bud Williams. He has now passed
away but one of his good friends, Grahame
Rees from NSW, teaches schools all over
Australia and came along to help mine as well.
Last year I attended one of Grahame’s
schools with a group of Tasmania beef
producers and I thought it would be a great
idea to organise a school for young adults like
myself. One of the key things Grahame taught
flooded the school with nervous excitement
after six weeks of dedicated preparation.
Scotch Oakburn was well represented
at the State Final by five secondary teams
(Years 6-10) and four primary teams (Years
4-5) across the four disciplines: Language
Literature, Maths Engineering, Social Sciences
and Applied Technology. It was fantastic to
witness the high level of commitment shown by
all students and the camaraderie established
across the six weeks.
Congratulations to our Primary Applied
Tournament of the minds
Technology and Maths Engineering teams
who will travel to Victoria to represent the state
in October and to the Secondary Applied
Technology team (SOC2) for achieving an
honours award at the State Final. It is also
important to acknowledge the hard work of all
participants in leading up to and on the day of
the State Final and all the people who helped
make the day possible by volunteering.
Tournament of Minds Coordinator
us was “attitude is everything” (it is the motto of
the school). This is not only true when handling
stock but is a valuable rule for life in general.
It was from completing this school that I got
the amazing idea to organise a LSS for young
adults between the age of 11 to 18.
The school started on a Friday afternoon
doing theory work on the principles of low
stress stockhandling, before we tested them
out in the yards next day. All 27 participants
started with sheep work in the paddock and
yards and we all got the hang of it very quickly
and were yarding up sheep with no problem.
We also learnt how to draft, fill the shearing
shed, moving from paddock to paddock and
a lot of other useful skills. To finish the day we
moved onto cattle work, learning how to be
safe in the yards, how a cow reacts in different
parts of the yard and yarding and moving
From completing this project I have a greater
understanding of the hard work and time it
takes to organise such an event, but it was all
that time and hard work I put into completing
the project that made it so successful.
The best thing about the school for me
was seeing the smiles on the faces of the
participants and seeing so many young people
keen to give up their time in their school
holidays to learn skills that will benefit them
Year 8 student
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