USQ Springfield will host the Tournament of Minds state final this Sunday.
USQ Springfield will host the Tournament of Minds state final this Sunday.

More than 350 school students descend on Ipswich

SOME of the state's brightest students will converge on the University of Southern Queensland's (USQ) Springfield campus this Sunday for the Tournament of Minds state final.

Launched in Australia in 1987, the Tournament of Minds provides an opportunity for high-achieving students from primary and secondary schools to test their communication, teamwork and creative thinking skills.

More than 350 students from 20 schools will compete in the disciplines of The Arts, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Language Literature and Social Sciences.

Queensland's Tournament of Minds state director Mark Oliver, who is also an education lecturer at USQ, said the university was excited to host the state final.

He said problem solving was the name of the game with students marked on how well they can think outside the box.

"Tournament of Minds is a brilliant program that rewards and celebrates intellectual excellence, creativity and teamwork,” Mr Oliver said.

"It gives students who have a passion for learning and problem solving the chance to be challenged at a higher level than the school curriculum,” he said.

"They are encouraged to look beyond conventional thinking and push the boundaries when coming up with ideas and solutions.”

The 52 teams, will be tasked with two challenges. In the first challenge, the teams will have three hours and limited materials to solve a complex problem and present their solution to a panel of judges and an audience.

They will then be given a spontaneous challenge with only five minutes to prepare their response.

"The idea is to get students to stretch their thinking and ability to work under pressure,” Mr Oliver said.

This is the first time USQ has hosted a Tournament of Minds event, and Mr Oliver hoped the exposure would encourage more schools in Ipswich and surrounding areas to participate.

"Tournament of Minds aligns well with our educational goals at USQ of providing more enrichment opportunities that accommodate the needs of gifted and talented students, especially those in regional areas,” he said.

"By exposing them to a wider range of challenging and exciting learning opportunities, and allowing them to interact with other children with similar abilities or interests, these students will be more motivated to pursue their interests at a pace and level appropriate to their learning ability.”