Brains and Brawn

Herrin High School’s Brain Games teams face off at the royalty themed sectionals for a chance to be crowned the winners.
The freshman-sophomore Brain Games team (Tyler Dodson, Maddie Martin, Josie Brandon, and Logan Groves) proudly display their team name for the royal-themed Sectional.
The freshman-sophomore Brain Games team (Tyler Dodson, Maddie Martin, Josie Brandon, and Logan Groves) proudly display their team name for the royal-themed Sectional.
Photography, Kyle Harlow

A new opportunity has been offered this year for an elite group of students who are artistic and resourceful. The new event is the ROE Brain Games, a series of different events that make students think creatively while also creating new items and ideas. 

After a win at the Regional competition,  both Brain Games teams were ready to compete this past Thursday in a bunch of new royalty-themed events. 

Each team was given various materials at the beginning of the morning and tasked to create a pinball machine based on a historical event. The items were typical household items such as straws, rubber bands, cardboard, and other various items. 

With two very different approaches, the freshman-sophomore team developed an interesting pinball machine based on the six wives of Henry the VIII with appropriate obstacles such as the wives themselves. The junior-senior team decided to go with a Marie-Antoinette theme that was appropriately designed with a guillotine and a castle. 

Building a pinball machine out of household items is not easy to do especially with a time limit. Each team must cooperate and think quickly or else they risk running out of time. 

Sydney Atchison (11) agreed thatgood teammates should be able to work together and have fun while still taking it all seriously.”

However, this was not the only event of the day. Another major event that took place was when teams had to create their own country completely from scratch by dumping rice on paper and making a map. This map served as their only knowledge thus far, and they had to create every other aspect including the name, land, currency, government, and other essential country aspects. 

The freshmen-sophomore team created Quilana, a sector of islands ruled by fierce matriarchy around the equator. 

Maddie Martin (10) greatly enjoyed this aspect of the games and was “enthralled with getting to write its national anthem.”

The junior-senior team created Ambrosia Island, a tropical island completely cut off from any type of industrialization. 

With these other time-consuming events, there were also side events happening at the same time including various minute-to-win-it tasks. Some of the tasks included matching bones to various royal accidents and picking what nicknames matched the historical figures. 

The finale of the day was a lot of tasks where each team member had to cooperate with other schools to win the most points in multiple challenges. One of the challenges was left, right, and center in French along with creating their bow and arrow out of cotton swabs and rubber bands. Each challenge posed various trials the teams had to face together. 

The junior-senior Brain Games team (Sydney Atchison, Nathan Abba, Vince Champion, and Mads LaBotte) prepares to take on the Sectional as previous Regional winners!

While neither Herrin teams were able to come out on top, each opportunity like this is a new learning experience for the students involved. 

Mr. Harlow believes this event is “different than Math Team or Scholastic Bowl or ACES” and believes it makes students “not just work together, but to acknowledge each other’s strengths and weaknesses to know who should take the lead and when.”

After two exciting Brain Games events this year, the remaining members are excited to see what is in store for next year’s themes and challenges at the 2025 ROE Brain Games.

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