A sea of grinning and delighted faces rushed through the doors at Knox Grammar School as The National da Vinci Decathlon was moments away from commencing. The Year 9 and Year 8 team, from A.B. Paterson College, took their seats, and waited in anticipation to discover the overarching theme for this year’s competition – Through the Looking Glass, inspired by the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Students were about to realise that they needed to be flexible in their thinking, and frequently reflect on their decisions, experiences, and comprehensive knowledge whilst completing each and every task.
For the Ideation Challenge, our students were called upon to design a smart mirror for the 21st century. Dorothy and Angelina led the charge in brainstorming original ideas, which resulted in Year 9s second placing for this discipline. The team was awarded a significant amount of points for incorporating new and future technologies in order to create this smart mirror that allowed an individual to use their time more effectively.
The Engineering task involved designing a thoughtful and science-savvy ‘Solar Hotplate’ to cook and heat food or drinks with the power of the sun. The team worked tirelessly to produce a high quality product (in 90 minutes) and provide a detailed explanation about the design, use, and sustainability of the prototype.
The Year 8 team was given a slightly different brief. The students had to design a residential or commercial building that featured natural light, greenery and an optical illusion. After much suspense, both teams were delighted to discover that they had earned a well-deserved 3rd place; resulting in a chorus of celebration during the presentations.
In the discipline of English, both teams had to face a number of unique and difficult challenges based around perception, reflection, and interpretation of images and literary techniques.
Members of the team were challenged to discover hidden meanings and themes from numerous pieces of stimulus whilst developing short responses. The Year 9 team was delighted to discover that they came third; the best result yet for our College in this field.
When undertaking the Cartography challenge, the team was required to complete unfinished maps of Tasmania, Pangea, and Milan. It proved to be a very challenging task as the team was pushed to their limits; demanding a lot of patience and a comprehensive knowledge of the world. The same was required when they were challenged to interpret Muhammad al-Idrisi’s famous and most complete maps of the world. They were further required to mark locations on a blank world map (without any specific plot points) and then name the location themselves. All of these tasks proved extremely tedious as members were required to work together to create an accurate answer. The Year 9 team was ecstatic with a 1st placing.
Each member of the Year 8 and 9 team was very proud of their efforts and accomplishments. Each student has invested a significant amount of time to prepare for this exciting, enriching, and challenging competition. The A.B. Paterson College da Vinci Decathlon Team would like to thank Ms Belinda Pilgrim (Head of Faculty of Academic Talent Development and Learning Enhancement) for her constant reassurance and support, Ms Alison Ward (Lawson Head of House), and Mr Bonn Hatton (Academic Development Specialist Teacher) for supervising, and marking throughout the tournament.