We were delighted to hold our first ever Curiosity Convention on 19 May.
They came, they presented, they shared and they were challenged! An absolutely full on day of excitement and activity for 6 schools (sadly two had last minute staffing issues) and a group of 58 children age 11 to 14
All the schools are familiar with Curiosity and they had all worked in advance to prepare challenges for the Convention. Each school had to present in 3 categories:
Bring Your Own. Each attendee brought with them their own favourite challenge that they had completed as part of their own school Curiosity Club. Judged by the students, there was an astonishing range of material on display including giant posters about Martin Luther King, studies of sugar content in everyday foods, working Archimedes screws, mood boards of the 60s and a group winning Trojan Horse beautifully crafted from lolly sticks.
School Submission. This required the school to pick from a choice of two Challenges, both of which required the development of an idea and the eventual defending of their creation. The first option was a thought provoking discussion based around establishing an acceptable level of schoolwork and this was clearly presented by posters, an elaborate movie trailer (that was the eventual winner of the Senior group) and a most impressive giant set of working scales (a balanced argument!).
The alternative was a Scene from Harry Potter for which there were beautifully put together models including one with a working starry background. The winner for the Junior group was a lovely diorama in the form of a tv set that depicted a scene created by morphing some of the key Potter moments including a car in a tree, a family of spiders and unicorn blood being drunk beside a mirror lake.
Perfect Performance. A choice of three Challenges was put forward from which each school chose one:
- A press conference announcing the first ever cloning of a dinosaur.
- Writing and performing a song with lyrics that had an emotional message.
- Giving a speech to survivors of the devastating tornado Joplin.
A phenomenal effort went into these performances with props, pianos, Powerpoints and plenty of practice. A comedy based dinosaur skit with wonderful overacting gave everybody a good chuckle whilst the moving performance of an original song about homelessness took the junior prize and a powerfully delivered inspirational speech to the Joplin survivors took the Senior prize.
Co-founder of Curiosity and world history author Chris Lloyd then set the scene and historical context for the Convention Challenge which was based around Fake News and the global story of Palm Oil.
Mark Skipworth, former Editor of The Telegraph newspaper, joined us for the day and with his experience he was able to give insight into the difficulties of verifying and authenticating information and also the trials of the newspaper industry. The Students powered into their Challenge for the Convention and launched into the stresses and strains of working to a tight deadline.
Mixed school teams, each led by a Student mentor, threw themselves into the task of creating a full newspaper complete with real news, fake news, crosswords and cartoons. The end result was, without exception, truly astonishing. Detailed research, great organisation, tight teamwork and sheer hard work produced really engaging output that was both highly creative and very well thought out.
Mark faced a tough job judging the papers but after grilling the teams he eventually awarded The Independent with top marks and compliments for sneaking in an un-noticed fake news story.
A true spirit of camaraderie was felt through the day as all the Students worked in harmony. The Convention Challenge provided a great opportunity for the Students to use the skills that they had been developing during their regular Curiosty Club sessions and it quickly became apparent that their individual abilities, their independent thinking and their experience in self-management helped them to shape into a powerful and effective team.
Congratulations and thanks were given, awards were made, farewells were said and departure followed.