Wearable technology and Shakespearian devices gave Mitchell High School students a winning edge at the regional Tournament of Minds.
The team of year 7 to 10 students that entered the problem solving competition's applied technology section designed the Travel Translator Thingimabob that Translates All Different Languages From Across the World — or "Tttttadlfatw" — when challenged to make a piece of wearable technology in six weeks.
The mouthguard is a prototype of a device to translate any language and correct speech impediments. It was made out of plastic on a 3D printer.
"It's all about teamwork," said Jasmine Li, in year 10. "Because I do information and software technology as a subject at school, I thought I could apply that knowledge to the challenge. It really helped."
The group worked countless hours and on weekends to come up with the device and an infomercial.
They also answered an impromptu challenge on the competition day.
"They gave us a photo of an obscure object and we had to write a letter of 25 words or less describing what it was, the location in which the architects found it and why we should preserve it," year 9 group member Chantelle Lowther said. "It looked like a round typewriter that was a golden colour."
Peer Mitchell Kerr said the group were judged on the creativity of their response.
"We said it was an ancient communication device from the ruins of Pompeii that had an incomplete manuscript in an ancient language," he said.
It is the first year that two teams from the school have placed first in their chosen of four problem solving topics.
They will spend three hours in a locked room to answer their next challenges at the state final on September 14.
The play within a play wins the day
Mitchell High School’s language literacy team won both their Tournament of Minds challenge to write and perform a play using characters from well-know oral stories and the coveted Kenworthy Shield.
It is the third year a group from the school has won the award, given to a team that makes the best historical reference of the competition.
The group used the plot device of a play within a play to deliver the moral to their tale.
It saw Helen of Troy, Banjo Paterson’s Mulga Bill and and the Emperor from Hans Christian Anderson’s classic tale involved in a love triangle as Greek mythology’s architect Dedalus gave advice.
‘‘When we were choosing our characters we listed the common things they share and their differences so that we could incorporate that into the story,’’ said year 10 team member Zerene Catacutan.
‘‘The Emperor and Mulga Bill’s pride in new fashionable things is the same. They have quite big egos, also their personalities clash.
‘‘Our year 7s helped us a lot with props and costumes but we also wanted to give them a role that was significant to our play and ease them into Tournament of Minds, so they played Helen of Troy and Dedalus.’’
Victoria Maltese, in year 10, said the best part of the competition was ‘‘working with other people you’ve never worked with before and getting to know them through a challenge’’.
Zerene agreed: ‘‘You make really good bonds with people in other grades.’’