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Conquering da Vinci Decathlon 2021

Students from Year 5 to Year 9 recently competed in the 2021 virtual da Vinci Decathlon, using their creativity and intellect to tackle this challenging competition, run in the spirit of an Olympic Decathlon.

The Da Vinci Decathlon is not for the faint-hearted. Students form teams in order to solve a series of problems across 10 different disciplines: engineering, mathematics and chess, code breaking, art and poetry, science, English, ideation, creative producers, cartography and legacy. While it might be hard to believe that a day of tests and challenges is considered fun by students, Da Vinci is all about playing to your strengths, combining brainpower and working as a team to succeed.

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The theme for the 2021 Da Vinci Decathlon was ‘Chance’. Instead of travelling to Knox Grammar for their respective competitions, students competed online. And while they missed the buzz of competition, they enjoyed the camaraderie and intellectual stimulation of working together against different schools.

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Gifted and Talented Teacher, Mr Rigg, along with the support of Junior School Gifted and Talented Teacher, Ms McNerney helped to prepare the students in the lead up to the competition. Mr Rigg said, “Our preparation began in Term 1, with students committing their time and energies to working together in the lead up to team selection, and then for the competition itself. I would like to take this opportunity to commend all those who participated in the selection process. For those who missed out this time, opportunities will come again next year.

The da Vinci Decathlon affords our students opportunities to think critically and creatively, and to apply the skills that they have been learning in class, to new situations. I would like to congratulate all students for their teamwork, good humour, and efforts on the day. I would also like to recognise all those who participated and acknowledge their achievement in placing in the top 15 schools in multiple disciplines. This is significant because some teams were competing against up to 80 teams across each year level.”

Year 5 are to be commended for coming:
• Equal 4th place in Legacy
• Equal 14th place in Code Breaking.

Year 7 are to be commended for coming:
• Equal 6th place in Ideation
• Equal 7th place in Creative Producers
• Equal 14th place in Cartography.

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Year 8 are to be commended for coming:
• Equal 8th place in Creative Producers
• Equal 9th in Mathematics
• Equal 11th in Code Breaking.

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Year 9 are to be commended for coming:
• Equal 9th in Code Breaking.

Annika in Year 9 said, “In the da Vinci Decathlon this year, we not only participated in fun and challenging papers, but we also got to work on our cooperation and teamwork skills with each other. Furthermore, we learnt to persevere together, and give every question our all. Overall, I really enjoyed the day and would like to thank the teachers that made this day possible, especially Mr Rigg for supervising our team.”

Sarah in Year 7 said, “The da Vinci Decathlon was a truly memorable experience and a competition I greatly enjoyed. I liked participating in Da Vinci because I could spend time with my friends solving problems and exploring different topics. We happily spent quite a few lunch times practicing with past papers and analysing problems together. I really enjoyed competing against 75 different schools. Da Vinci was an experience that I will never forget. I will specifically remember the experience of working as a strong and closely bonded team, cooperating well, and bringing out the best in each other.
Thank you so much for helping us in this pursuit Mr Rigg!”

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Nicole in Year 7 said, “When participating in da Vinci, I thoroughly enjoyed solving problems in the science division. Although the questions were challenging, I worked hard on them with the support of my twin sister, Sarah. I particularly enjoyed constructing a flow chart to instruct machines to identify particular substances by seeing what they chemically reacted to. I also had a great time making a putt putt golf course, which I named Holey Moley. I had the time of my life participating in the da Vinci Decathlon and I’ll definitely try out for it again next year!”