On Sunday 25th March a team of budding young scientists and engineers went to Bangkok Prep International School to compete in the Tournament of Minds. With 497 students enrolled, this was Thailand’s biggest tournament ever.

The project brief was complex and challenging. The students had to design and build a lottery machine that randomly delivers a subset of numbered balls to determine which of the more than a million candidates would proceed to the next selection round and possibly win a trip to Mars in the event of a global apocalypse. The machine had to have a secret modification that could not be easily detected and which would improve the odds of preferred candidates being selected. The students also had to explain and justify why these candidates needed to be preferred.

The students involved were Na (Year 11), William (Year 10), Mimi (Year 10), Alex (Year 10), Andy (Year 9), Bless (Year 8) and Eagle (Year 7).

The judges were very impressed with the construction and design of the machine the students built, stating that it was one of the few they saw that day that “actually worked”.

The students also completed a five minute spontaneous challenge in the afternoon which tested their cognitive reasoning and teamwork skills.

Teaching staff were most impressed by the incredible work-ethic if our students. They overcame many setbacks in the design of their machine and they worked tirelessly for six weeks on the run up to the event as they were preparing for the challenge. They also stayed late on Friday, came into school on Saturday and spent extra time on Sunday perfecting their machine and rehearsing their performance.

The students reported that this was a truly life-changing experience and that they felt that had picked up invaluable skills during the process.