DaVinci Decathlon (Year 6)

By Mr Nick Martin and Mrs Jo O’Brien, Assistant Heads of Junior School

On Tuesday of last week, two teams of Year 6 students ventured to Canberra Grammar School to compete in the DaVinci Decathlon. The DaVinci Decathlon is an academic competition in which students compete in teams of eight across ten disciplines: engineering, mathematics, code breaking, art and poetry, science, English, ideation, creative producers, cartography and legacy. The students work as a team throughout the day to complete the ten challenges. Teams have some autonomy over how they approach each problem so they can play to their strengths throughout the day.

Both teams performed exceptionally well, placing second and third in the final standings. More importantly, all students demonstrated outstanding behaviour, beautiful manners and positive interactions with the students from the other schools. The students should be very proud of themselves.

In unpacking the learning that was embedded in the DaVinci Decathlon, we asked the students to reflect on the day in response to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) Approaches to Learning (AtLs). The AtLs are important skills that are embedded in all learning, from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 6, and are vital for success in the Secondary School and life beyond school. The AtLs fall into the following five areas: thinking, research, communication, self-management and social skills.

These were some of the reflections from the students:

"The DaVinci Decathlon really improved our self-management and thinking skills. We all had to think about things outside of the box and we had to face problems and questions that we would never face at school. We practised self-management because we had to manage our time and divide up the team to complete the papers. The DaVinci Decathlon included ways to help us grow and think of different things that we might not have previously," Dinugi Weerabaddana Dissanayake.

"Doing the Da Vinci Decathlon for the second time was very enjoyable; I loved doing it with my team, and our placing was amazing! This competition is extremely hard in every aspect. It challenges creative thinking, communication between people, organisation of tasks and your overall knowledge. For example, creative producers only gives you eight minutes to create a one-minute act, so communication, time management and collaboration are critical. Research is important too, because there are hidden clues in the questions that can give you a better chance at getting the questions right. In code breaking, there were five children but only three different soups; we had no idea what to do! All in all, this is a great experience for anyone and everyone. I absolutely loved it, and had the greatest time!" - Sophie Linton.