Lateral thinking, team work, creativity and resourcefulness are needed by young competitors in the Tournament of Minds.
Teams of students work to solve problems in science technology, language literature, engineering mathematics, and social sciences.
Three teams of seven students from Whanganui Intermediate School (WIS) competed in the regional competition held in Palmerston North last term.
Each team had been working independently for six weeks before the competition to answer a complex question in their selected area.
They were required to present their response in a dramatic way within a 10-minute timeframe.
Students made all their own costumes and props and submitted a copy of their script and costings which could not exceed $75.
One of the requirements was that contestants could not ask for help from their parents or teachers.
Two of the WIS teams each won their section in the regional competition and the other team was third.
The two winning teams travelled to Wellington for the national competition on September 24 where they were locked in rooms for three hours to come up with a response to a new task within the same subject area.
Teacher Dawn Duncum said the students also had to make new costumes and props within the three-hour timeframe.
"Unfortunately, we did not win but our language literature team was placed third which was a great achievement."
WIS teams entered the competition for the first time last year.
Tournament of Minds competitions are also held in Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore.
The competitions provide students with a different approach to learning and give them useful communication skills.