Mental gymnastics at Tournament of the Minds (TOM)

After weeks of planning and discussion, Michelle Aghion (Yr 7), Jaida Cohen (Yr 7), Samantha Katz (Yr 7), Ariella Lyons (Yr 7), Reine Polevoy (Yr 8), Sophie Popper (Yr 8), and Dylan Umansky (Yr 7) went to Deakin University Burwood to participate in Tournament of the Minds (TOM).

There were 4 challenges to choose from, The Arts, STEM, Literature or Social Sciences. The King David team selected the Arts challenge. The concept was “The Wizard of Aus”. The challenge was to re-write The Wizard of Oz with an Australian twist. After a long day of discussion, the team came up with the idea of going back in time to the era of the Stolen Generation. The idea was that Dorothy (played by Jaida Cohen) and Auntie Em (played by Samantha Katz) were both aboriginal. Ms Gulch (played by Michelle Aghion) was European and wanted to take Dorothy away to make her a “proper girl”. Auntie Em sends Dorothy away with her dingo Toto (played by Sophie Popper) so that Ms Gulch can’t take Dorothy away. On her journey, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow (played by Dylan Umansky). He longs for a brain and tells Dorothy about the Wonderful Elder of Wundrung (played by Reine Polevoy) who can make everyone’s dreams come true. Dorothy than meets the Tin Can (played by Ariella Lyons). The Tin Can wishes for a heart and joins everyone on they’re quest to meet the Wonderful Elder. Later they stumble across a cowardly Kangaroo. The Kangaroo hopes to be brave and joins the gang on they’re quest. You know the rest!

Then we had the Spontaneous challenge. This challenge was a secret to everyone and was only found out by the students. The King David team went into a room with a table, pencils and a couple of notepads. We received our challenge, then we had 5 minutes to come up with the idea. After the five minutes were up, they had one minute to present. After presenting we left the room, never to speak of the challenge again… except for Sunday 25 August where we can finally talk about the challenge again.

The experience was amazing and the students would like to say a huge thank you to Andrea Gore for helping the entire time and to all the other staff including Russell Kaplan, Laura Rickhuss, Hayley Rosenbaum, Lionel Katz and Tina Syros for giving us little tips along the way.

A huge thank you also to the parents who came and watched their kids perform.

Samantha Katz (Year 7)

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