Haberfield Public School

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Tournament of minds

Haberfield Public School has successfully competed in tournament of minds for the last 3 years. It is a competition based around team problem-solving. There are 4 categories for the teams to choose from including:

  • language literature
  • social sciences
  • engineering mathematics
  • science technology

In 2017:

  • girls made up 40% of our total participants (across 4 teams)
  • entrants into the engineering mathematics division for the first time, of which 30% were girls
  • both our social science teams receive ‘Honours’ in the Sydney East Region.

2017's social science challenge 

A. Introduction

People say that the world is more crowded as populations continue to grow. INSPIRE (the Inter-National System Promoting Island Relocation and Evolution) has made a new artificial island to ease overcrowding and to promote partnership, understanding and new connections between countries which have previously been separate. A plan has been developed and countries are being paired to settle there. INSPIRE has selected your team to lead the way. As your settlement will be the first of many, it must be creative and INSPIRE-ing.

B. Challenge

Select two countries to pair for this trial colonisation from the lists provided in Section D. Show how your team selected five of the features, example, icons, language, and cultural aspects, which you then merged to support this new connection. Your team must then develop a promotional presentation on the success of your colony for INSPIRE to use as they develop more islands.

C. Presentation

During the presentation your team must:

  • explain why your team has selected the two countries
  • outline the process used to select five features of the countries for amalgamation
  • present a new flag which is symbolic of the new settlement
  • show how some of the challenges of combining two cultures have been overcome
  • present the success of your settlement to INSPIRE incorporating features of the two countries you have amalgamated.

2017's engineering mathematics challenge 

A. Introduction

It may be a one-way trip but too many people want to have the chance to be the first to live on Mars, even though there is no chance of ever returning to Earth! A lottery is needed to reduce the number of potential candidates from which the spaceship crews will be selected. However, some concerned scientists fear that the lottery will eliminate too many desirable candidates. They need to try and rig the result to include preferred candidates whose lottery numbers they can select!

B. Challenge

Design and build a lottery machine that randomly delivers a subset of numbered balls to determine which of the more than a million candidates will proceed to the next selection round, by having the three winning numbers. To have a secret modification that cannot be easily detected, which will improve the odds of preferred candidates being selected. To explain and justify why these candidates need to be preferred.

C. Presentation

  • During the presentation your team must:
    • demonstrate the lottery machine and that, unmodified, it appears to be able to deliver a random subset of numbers
    • demonstrate that, with modifications, the probability of particular numbers being chosen is improved or perfected
    • explain the complete strategy of avoiding detection (including the way of assigning numbers to candidates) and calculate the improvement in the odds (i.e. in the ratio of preferred candidates to total candidates after a successfully rigged draw)
    • explain and justify why certain candidates need to be preferred.