10th March 2020 — Recently Moulsford Prep School took a team of eight boys from Years 7 and 8 to Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire to compete in the excellent 'Da Vinci Decathlon', an internationally recognised academic competition designed to challenge and stimulate the minds of children.
Throughout the day, the Moulsford boys took part in a variety of challenges. The first was English, which consisted of the analysis of books, and then Science, which was based on the decomposing of radioactive isotopes (like Plutonium-244 to Francium). This was followed by Art and Poetry where the boys had to compose a haiku around religion, and were then given a book to express the haiku in art form. For the Code Breaking, the boys had to decipher multiple codes including PigPen, Caesar Cipher, three column encryption, and reverse writing.
The next couple of challenges were Engineering and Ideation. The Ideation challenge consisted of the creation of a new interface and logos and icons. In the Engineering challenge, the boys had to create a model plane out of paper cups, straws, elastic bands and card. The boys were judged on how long it stayed in the air, the distance travelled, and the description of it.
During the Creative Production challenge, which was only 13 minutes long, the boys were set the task of creating a 60-second play based on ‘The Last Supper’ (the Da Vinci Decathlon’s overall theme this year). Their short play was about four prisoners having their last meal on death row.
After this was Maths, Chess and Cartography. The Cartography exam involved studying maps, understanding locations and knowledge of flags. The Chess challenge asked the boys to work out how to get checkmate in a certain amount of moves, and the Maths was a variation of very hard puzzles and problems. The final challenge was General Knowledge.
The boys were delighted to come away having won five of the challenges, making them the 2020 champions!