Gareths teacher entered some of her students in the 2014 Tournament of Minds. The kids in Gareths team were challenged to make a machine out of recycled materials that could dispense a "precious commodity" (sugar!) They had to spend many lunch times and afternoons after school working together and also had to go into school during the weekends. In the last few days things got quite frazzled as the machine failed to work and moral was going up and down, tears were shed, extra practise sessions were scheduled.
Finally today the kids went into Newcastle University and did their presentation. They weren't perfect, the machine didn't work and a few of their rehearsed lines got jumbled but they all kept the smiles on their faces and did their best. There's a lot more to be gained from an experience like this than just winning. They learnt how hard it is to work under pressure, that despite huge effort you will not always succeed and that group work involves a lot of give and take.
Above all they gained a new respect for their teacher who gave up so much of her precious unpaid time to help them. All I could think is that she must really love her job to be prepared to spend Friday, Saturday and Sunday with her pupils and then see them all again on Monday morning ready to get stuck into the next adventure. Mrs Hogan you are
mad, crazy, nuts, WONDERFUL!