Our Junior School TOM Team 8 competed in the State Finals of Tournament of Minds on Sunday 12 September 2021 and came first place. They will now represent Victoria in the Australian Final in October. Below are reflections from our seven team members.

What it was like being a Year 4, 5 or 6 while doing TOM? 

It was a fun, interesting, and tough experience. I am in Year Four, so I haven’t done much like this, so it was a new experience for me.

How did you manage online TOM?
Although it was challenging, we managed to do it very well. It wasn’t the easiest communicating online, but we found as many ways as possible to do this.

What did they do at rehearsals?
We would meet at lunchtime or flexible learning time to practice spontaneous questions and to rehearse our performances. We would work as a team and talk to each other

The Regional experience – how did you find practising online and recording your response?
Although it was very hard recording our response, in the end, we were very proud of our work. Practising online wasn’t easy, but after some practice, we got it! I found it nice to do it online because once we recorded it, we could watch it back and always record it again if we didn’t like it the first time.

The lead up to State?
It took lots of practice, but in the end, it was worth it!

The Roles you played on the day
I was the timekeeper. I had a stopwatch next to me to look at the time.

 How do you feel about the Australian final?
I am very excited about the Australian final. Although I am nervous, I feel like we can accomplish this big goal. Even if we don’t achieve and win, I am still very proud of what I have already done.

Zoe Sui Year 4BW

When Mrs Weaver and Mrs Henderson spoke to years 4, 5 and 6 about the Tournament of Minds, also known as TOM, in Term 2, I thought it sounded interesting and fun.  I put my name forward, hoping to be selected for a team.  We then had to do some tests to try out for a team. Only a few people from Year 4 were selected, and I was excited when I found out I was one of them.

Being in year 4, I was one of the youngest students in the team.  Our entire team was made up of beginners to TOM, so we were all learning together. We started to learn and prepare, and then lockdown happened, which meant the whole process changed. Being online meant we now had to meet online regularly, communicate well and be very organised.

In preparation for the regionals, Mrs Henderson dropped materials at our doorstep so we could create our props.  At the rehearsals, we performed and recorded our play many times.  We had to get under 10 minutes, and it took us two days to get it right. Once it was completed, we all cheered! Our recording was submitted, and we had to wait all weekend for the results.  We were chosen to compete in the state finals.

For State, we practised most days for two weeks because now we also had to perform a spontaneous task together which we had never done before.  Mrs Henderson and Mr Hilton gave us practice questions and then gave feedback to improve.

On the day of the State final, I had been given the role of timekeeper.  The timekeeper needs to keep track of the time and keep the team updated to make sure they know how much time is left to complete the task. When I came out of the spontaneous, we met Mrs Henderson, and we were all feeling good about our response.  I was buzzing with excitement for the award ceremony.  We were the last category announced and were over the moon when we were announced as the winner.

My whole family were jumping around the house.  We then got a group call from Mrs Henderson, Mr Hilton, Ms Samuel, and Ms Kirkup to congratulate us.

Now we are heading to the Australian final representing Victoria. I am feeling excited about the opportunity and feel it will be an amazing learning experience.  I am really proud of our team.

By Madeleine Collins 4TW

Hello, I am Martin, a Year 5 student. I have participated in TOM recently together with my teammates, Cooper, Hudson, Luke, Madeleine, Sophia, and Zoe. I am very happy to be part of the team. It has been a really good experience, and I have enjoyed collaborating and discussing with my teammates indeed.

This is my first time participating in TOM, so I wasn’t sure how to follow the schedule at first. However, with the guidance of Mrs Henderson, our team coordinator, and the collaboration with my teammates, I adapted and understood the process quickly. As we worked together daily, with meetings at lunchtime, I became familiar with the goal and procedure. Every session we worked together at lunchtime was always flying past, and I was pleased with an animation I worked on, which was added to the play. I never looked at my watch in TOM sessions; I was fond of them and always focused on my work.

To get Honours in the Regional Finals is a surprise, while 1st place for the State Finals is an amazing achievement. I can’t wait for the next round. I hope that we can have another unbelievable journey. Thanks to Mrs Henderson and my dear teammates, I look forward to our next meeting, “Fly like a falcon”. Thanks for reading.
Martin Chen 5IR

When you do TOM for the first time, it is an experience of a lifetime, and it’s one of the most fun co-curricular programs I have ever done. It’s like nothing you do in class. And TOM had its challenge’s online, but it was just as enjoyable as in person. Also, it’s sad and unfortunate for the schools that don’t get to do video and teams calls to do this and we were very lucky to have that. We worked so hard practising and practising our spontaneous questions. At the online ceremony, hearing our name being said as the winners to go to the national final was exhilarating. It means all that time and effort you put in pays off in the long run. Plus, doing that means you get a chance to represent your State at the national final is all worthwhile.
Hudson McDowell 5IR

I was in Year 5 in TOM. I found it difficult online, but we were all in a meeting like we were at school. We were given a spontaneous to complete with 4 minutes for the problem and 1 minute to share. Doing the spontaneous online, I didn’t find it too difficult the only problem was there was a few times that peoples mic made weird noises. When we were in the first round, we chose a problem we decided on the arts; we had to argue why or why not digital art is the way forward. We chose that digital should be used but should not take over. That response got us into state finals, and we were given a spontaneous problem where you have to find the most creative answer for the problem they give you. In the first round, I was a debater for technology should be the way forward. I am feeling good for the Australian finals.

Luke Adam 5MR

TOM Experience  

Being in TOM was probably one of the best experiences at The Knox School. It taught me how to work with and well as a team as well as expanding my creativity to a whole other level. Though doing it online was a different thing. We had to adapt to our surroundings quickly, but we managed nicely. Regionals were fun. We did a play around why we think art should be taught with technology, but with the aid. It was fun being the ‘principal’ in the play. When we finally received the results, I was thrilled to hear that my team (8) got into State! When State came around, I was scared but also excited. This round was a spontaneous round, and new judges would judge our video of the play. At 9:30 on a Sunday morning, the time had come. It was spontaneous question time. Once we finished, it felt like all this weight from my shoulders was finally released. At 5:00 pm, we had a nerve-racking Zoom call of the results of State. My heart skipped a beat when I heard we were into the Australian finals! Now that we are preparing for the Australian Finals, I am ready to put my heart and soul into this and give it my best!

Sophia Wang 6CG 

TOM has been a great experience. Being in Year 6, it was more of a leadership role that I was given alongside Sophia. Our team worked so hard to get to the stage we are at now. Every single person put in maximum effort. It was difficult, to say the least, due to online learning and being stuck at home. But we persevered through these times. On the day of our performance, I was the teacher. On the day of the spontaneous, I was the first person to speak and the presenter, but everyone helped as well. TOM was a fun experience, and I will probably do it next year.

Cooper Leighton 6CG