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What is Odyssey of the Mind?

Odyssey of the Mind is an International Creative problem solving program specifically dedicated to helping children explore their creativity, seek solutions and develop their teamwork skills. 

The Odyssey of the Mind problems challenge students to go beyond conventional thinking.

Students use a hands-on approach to solving a complex, open-ended problem, a problem that has specific design specifications and monetary limitations. The problems incorporate science, technology, engineering, math, art, speaking and acting into the process, with greater emphasis on some elements than on others depending on the Problem chosen by the team.

Odyssey students develop lifelong skills that include: 

>  learning the skills that lead them to work effectively as active members of a team, 

>  learning to take many individual ideas and thoughts to form superior solutions, 

>  being comfortable speaking in public, 

>  learning that it is worth taking risks, 

>  knowing there are methods to increase the likelihood of the success in risk-taking. 

click here for the Odyssey of the Mind National Site

Why Odyssey of the Mind?

Creative Problem Solving is a skill that needs to be nurtured and developed.

While a conventional education is important, learning to solve problems creatively and confidently gives the students an important edge in their education and career goals. There is creativity inside each of us and OotM teaches how to tap into it so it can be applied to real-world problems.

From the start in 1978, OotM recognized the importance of many of the skills now emphasized in education today such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The program combines that with history and art and has encouraged learning these subjects through the Classics and performance problems.

All OotM solutions require students to perform - whether it be in set-building, costume making, creating props, acting, singing, or playing an instrument. These skills are important to create a balanced education. Because the students are doing something fun and have ownership of their solutions, they are eager to perform. They develop self confidence and public speaking skills along the way. 

INFO

What is Odyssey of the Mind?

Odyssey of the Mind is an International Creative problem solving program specifically dedicated to helping children explore their creativity, seek solutions and develop their teamwork skills. 

The Odyssey of the Mind problems challenge students to go beyond conventional thinking.

Students use a hands-on approach to solving a complex, open-ended problem, a problem that has specific design specifications and monetary limitations. The problems incorporate science, technology, engineering, math, art, speaking and acting into the process, with greater emphasis on some elements than on others depending on the Problem chosen by the team.

Odyssey students develop lifelong skills that include: 

>  learning the skills that lead them to work effectively as active members of a team, 

>  learning to take many individual ideas and thoughts to form superior solutions, 

>  being comfortable speaking in public, 

>  learning that it is worth taking risks, 

>  knowing there are methods to increase the likelihood of the success in risk-taking. 

click here for the Odyssey of the Mind National Site

Why Odyssey of the Mind?

Creative Problem Solving is a skill that needs to be nurtured and developed.

While a conventional education is important, learning to solve problems creatively and confidently gives the students an important edge in their education and career goals. There is creativity inside each of us and OotM teaches how to tap into it so it can be applied to real-world problems.

From the start in 1978, OotM recognized the importance of many of the skills now emphasized in education today such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The program combines that with history and art and has encouraged learning these subjects through the Classics and performance problems.

All OotM solutions require students to perform - whether it be in set-building, costume making, creating props, acting, singing, or playing an instrument. These skills are important to create a balanced education. Because the students are doing something fun and have ownership of their solutions, they are eager to perform. They develop self confidence and public speaking skills along the way. 

Problems Description

Our Problems

Odyssey of the Mind problems are not ‘practical’. We do not teach OMers how to solve a problem, we teach them how to be Problem Solvers!

Each year,  six original Long Term Problems are released: five competitive problems for students and one primary problem for K-2nd graders. Each problem is original, contains a few limitations to work within, and lists scoring categories.  

 

Long-Term Problems

Long-Term Problems are the engine that propels Odyssey of the Mind. Teams select their problem when they join the program and spend weeks or months to create and develop their solution. Each team member will find a role to play in the many stages of problem-solving that include brainstorming, artwork, set design, technical design, writing sketches and much more! The solutions are presented in a live performance. Thousands of teams from all over the world will select and solve the same problem but no two solutions are ever the same!  Long Term problems are different every year but they fall into general categories:

Problem #1: Vehicle

Traveling through creative courses, hitting targets, delivering parts, and carrying teammates “across the sky or “under the seas” are some of the tasks completed by original team-made “vehicles. Teams use unusual sources of energy and original engineering to create vehicles that often don’t look or move like a vehicle. OMers perform an original skit that usually includes characters and special effects but the emphasis is on the running and testing of the vehicle.

Problem #2: Technical

Creating a robotic pet, a Not-So-Haunted pop-up House, and rubber band powered devices are technical problems our teams have solved. The level of technology is up to the team and ranges from basic engineering and electronics to more advanced robotics. Technical devices have served purposes that include producing special effects, delivering mail, and improving the lives of people in need. OMers test their devices in performances that are often hilarious.

Problem #3: Classics

In the Classics problem, teams write and perform original theatrical performances based on a work from classical literature, artwork, music, culture, or history. Subjects range from bringing the past to life to revisiting and rewriting history, all while OMers learn about world history. Solutions often reflect upon the majesty and sophistication of humanity’s most impactful and enduring creations.

Problem #4:  Structure

Picture a 15 to 18 gram structure made of balsa wood holding and balancing a stack of weights while getting rammed, twisted, or even broken apart. Each year a new problem requires an original structure to withstand a new test of strength as it holds weight until it breaks. It’s not uncommon for experienced teams to hold over 400 kilos. OMers create and present performances ranging from comical to extravagant where testing their structures is part of the action.

Problem #5: Performance

Whether it is showing the world from the point of view of an animal, acting out a Food Court where all of the characters in a courtroom are food, or showing social outcasts saving the planet, you can be sure that the performance problem will be fun and unexpected. In their solutions teams integrate stage and drama elements from lighting effects to puppetry to elaborate set changes. Original characters and unusual situations give OMers plenty of opportunity to show off their creativity.

5 to 7 years old Primary

Teams are introduced to Odyssey of the Mind with an age appropriate problem similar to a competitive one.

Spontaneous Problems

They are solved instantly using spontaneous creativity. Teams practice and prepare for the Spontaneous experience but the actual Spontaneous Problem they will solve at a tournament is not revealed to them until they walk into the room to solve the problem!

Spontaneous develops quick thinking, creativity, teamwork, and the ability to deal with the unexpected which are all important educational aspects of Odyssey of the Mind.

Spontaneous Problems come from three general categories:

Verbal Spontaneous Problems: require teams to give verbal, spoken responses to questions or prompts, and those responses are scored according to how creative (or common) they seem to trained judges in the room.

Hands-On Spontaneous Problems: require different levels of physical interaction among team members to solve. Generally a hands-on spontaneous problem will challenge the teams to move, build, or to use provided items to complete a task.

Combination Spontaneous Problems: combines some type of physical activity and verbal replies or prompts. 

Division: (Age groups)

Birthday Before May 1 of the academic year

Division I:      5  - 11 years old

Division II:   12  - 14 years old

Division III:  15  - 18 Years Old

Division IV:  18 -   End of University

Problem Synopsis

2021-2022 Long Term Problems Synopses

All Problems have an 8-minute time limit in the final presentation.

Problem 1: Escape vroOM                                                                                    

Divisions I, II, III & IV

Odyssey teams take their problem-solving skills inside a box as they create a performance that includes one or more team-created vehicles that will help a group of characters escape an unusual room. The vehicle will travel to areas within the room and complete tasks. Each time it completes a task it will release a “clue” that the group will use in the next area to release the next clue, and so on. When the vehicle performs the final task, it will reveal a final clue that allows the group to escape the room and they discover the mystery behind the room!

Problem 2: Odyssey ReOMvention                                                                     

Divisions I, II, III & IV

While no one knows what the future holds, it’s likely OMers will have an important role in it! To prove just that, teams will present a performance that identifies an original threat to the environment that self-replicates until a team-created technical reOMvention removes the threat. The team’s setting will reflect the threat and then return to its original state. The performance will also include original music, two animal characters, and must use ARM & HAMMERTM Baking Soda.

Problem 3: Problem 3: Classics...(Name Here): The Musical Production        

Divisions I, II, III & IV

Historical figures get an encore as OMers re-tell their stories in musical form. In this problem, teams will create a biographical musical about a selected historic figure. There will be three songs: an opening number, an emotional number whose music conveys an emotion, and one determined by the team. The performance will also include a lighting special effect, movement of scenery, and a membership sign that will appear as a marquee for the team’s musical.

Problem 4: Matryoshka Structure                                                                           

Divisions I, II, III & IV

It’s always the more the merrier with nesting dolls, also known as Matryoshka! In this problem, teams will design and build a Matryoshka Structure made of only balsa wood and glue that holds as much weight as possible. The 8+” structure will hold additional structures nested one inside the other. The more structures that are nested, the higher the score! Before weight placement can begin, the nested structures will be removed one-by- one to reveal a tiny character nested inside the smallest structure. The performance will have a theme about storage that includes placing weights, the structures, and the tiny character.

Problem 5: Life is a Circus!​                                                                                     

Divisions I, II, III & IV

Sometimes life seems like a circus! Teams will create a performance about a young person enjoying a regular life in our world who wakes up one day to discover they somehow were transported into a circus world. In the circus world there will be original animals performing unexpected tricks, a clown, circus acts, and a ringmaster that announces the activities. The young person returns to the regular world thinking it was all a dream until they see a mysterious figure that turns out to be from the circus.

Primary Problem: Primary: Tri-Cycle Transport.                                                  

Grades K-2 (Years 1 - 3)

We all know where the wheels on the bus take us, how about the wheels on an OM-Mobile? In this problem teams will design and build one or more vehicles used to transport something. Teams will build a vehicle that is powered three ways: human power, gravity, and free choice (e.g. battery, wind). The vehicle will travel forward, backward, and turn to a side. The performance will also include a funny narrator, a mechanic character, a salesperson, and a song about transportation that has a lyric repeated three times.nimal to a different animal. 

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