What is Odyssey of the Mind?
What are the problems?
Teams get to pick from one of five problems to solve. These are called long term problems. Each year they are different but there is always one in each of these catagories:
- Vehicles - design one or more vehicles to perform different tasks.
- Technical - create working mechanical devices to become part of a play.
- Classics - create a play including elements of Classical literature, art, music, and history.
- Structure - design a balsa wood and glue structure to hold as much weight as possible.
- Humour - create a play with humourous characters and situations.
- A special sixth problem is created for students in Kindergarten to Grade 2.
The problem the teams must solve on the day of the tournament is called a spontaneous problem and usually fall into one of three catagories:
- Verbal - team members take turns saying something which contributes to the solution of the problem. For example: name a tourist attraction and tell us why it has become famous.
- Hands on - team members create one or more items from materials provided. For example: create the tallest tower possible from this string, paper, straws, and paper clips.
- Combination - a combination of the other two types of problems. For example: create a tall tower from these materials and then take turns telling the judges why this tower is a famous tourist attraction
Why do we love it?
- Students must create solutions entirely without the help of adults! They learn to solve problems, teach themselves new skills, learn decision making, discover bold new ways to use duct tape, and build self esteem.
- Teams learn cooperation, respect for each other's ideas, how to manage money (yes, there's a budget), and that there isn't always one right answer.
- Tournaments are fun, friendly, and encouraging. Students are stars for a day and feel like all the work they've put into their solutions has been worth it.
Want more information?
Check out some of the problem solutions from World Finals 2014:
Odyssey of the Mind World Finals 2013 was a creative extravaganza where more than 825 teams from all around the world shared their ideas and work.
Who runs Odyssey of the Mind?
At the International Level: Creative Competitions, Inc. (CCI) is a private company owned by the founder of Odyssey, Dr. Sam Micklus and his family. The headquarters of this company is in New Jersey, where Odyssey began in 1978. It is at this level that the Odyssey problems are created and distributed to schools. CCI also organizes the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals Competition.
In Canada: In British Columbia, Odyssey of the Mind is sponsored by the non-profit organization, Creative Problem Solving Society (CPSS). CPSS is a non-profit society and federally registered charity. Together with another non-profit group in Ontario, Ontario Creative Problem Solvers (OCPS), they hold the license for organizing the Odyssey of the Mind in Canada. The two groups are working together to build up Odyssey memberships across the country. CPSS and OCPS purchase the yearly problems from Creative Competitions Inc. CCI, in turn, organizes the World Finals where teams from Canada are eligible to compete.
In the Schools: At the school level, teams are generally coached by parents and/or teachers who meet with the students on a weekly basis. This varies from school to school - some use Odyssey of the Mind as part of their curriculum and for others it is an extracurricular program. In some cases, the principal purchases a membership, in other cases the PAC will pay for a membership for the school. This membership entitles the school to enter teams into competition.
Find out how to bring Odyssey to your school!