Students channel da Vinci in academic challenge

Posted 28th August 2016

How many uses are there for a fork? What if all the water in the world turned green? Such ponderous questions were among many that were light relief for students in between the academic challenges at the fourth Northern NSW da Vinci Decathlon at The Armidale School yesterday.

Over three days, the event has brought together more than 520 gifted and talented students from state and independent schools from Moree, Inverell, Tamworth, Scone, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Narrabri, Moree, Dubbo, Glen Innes and Armidale to challenge them in a range of stimulating and engaging activities.

Developed by Knox Grammar School and now held in regional venues across Australia, students compete in teams of eight across 10 disciplines: Mathematics and Chess; English; Science; Code Breaking; Engineering Challenge; Philosophy; Creative Producer; Art and Poetry; Cartography; General Knowledge.

“Every year the questions and challenges are different and we try to make them relevant. For example in the maths challenge, we’re looking at a new house built on water in Dubai that has a glass floor, and students have been asked questions all about the force the water applies to the building, the effect of the building on the water, and how tall such a building could be before it either couldn’t float, would sink, or the glass floor would break,” said Dylan Sherman, a former Knox student who now runs the various decathlons.

Year 7 and 8 teams competed on yesterday (Wednesday 24 August), today is the turn of Years 9 and 10, while on Friday (26 August) it’s for Year 5 and 6 students. This year’s theme ‘synergy’ is an appropriate one, according to TAS organiser Ms Catherine Boydell.

“Synergy is the skill required to make a successful da Vinci Decathlon team. For us, synergy is eight students with differing expertise, interest and passion working together to create the best solution,” she said.

Ms Boydell said TAS was honoured to host the northern NSW championships for Knox for the fourth time. “It is a wonderful extension and enrichment opportunity that strengthens students’ skills in logic, team building and multi-tasking,” she said.

On the first day it was the host school who were named Year 7 champions, while the top Year 8 team came from Bishop Druitt College, Coffs Harbour. The winners are competing for trophies and an invitation to attend the state finals hosted by Knox next year.


Students from across the region relished the challenge of this year’s da Vinci Decathlon