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Odyssey of the Mind

Odyssey of the Mind Regional Tournament
Saturday, March 17, 2018
West Potomac High School, Alexandria

Coach for Drew Model School: Mr. Marco Ovando,

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. For our elementary school, teams of no fewer than 5 students and no more than 7 students apply their creativity and work together to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. These written problems and the operating assumptions are provided by the Odyssey of the Mind organization. After working on their interpretations or solutions, students meet up at a competition at the regional level. Team members must generate all ideas and carry out those ideas themselves, without parental help.

If you haven't seen an Odyssey competition before, I recommend that you check out some examples on You Tube (there are many!)

Here are a couple of past Drew performances:

Participation in Odyssey of the Mind is a lot of fun, but also a time commitment for your student. Depending on your coach and team schedule, you can expect your team to meet once a week beginning in December – February. The competition is in early March and some teams will increase their meeting times to ensure they are prepared. We need parents to coach, help find judges, and encourage your child to work on tasks between meetings. Every team is required to have a coach and a judge in order to participate. The Drew Model PTA has already paid the registration fee for our our teams. There is no fee for your student to participate.

Critical Date:
Your child MUST be available on Saturday, March 17, 2018 to participate in our regional competition.

What are the "Problems"?
Here are this year's designated problems. Problems 1-5 are open to grades K-5 and the performances are scored by judges. The primary problem is for grade K-2 and is not scored - instead team receive encouraging remarks.

Primary (K-2) Problem: We’re Cooking Now

Creativity heats up as teams create their own cooking show where a chef gives an original cooking lesson to a special guest. The show takes place from a creative kitchen where balsa wood is used to support a cookbook, a bowl, and an object of the team’s choosing. A special guest will visit and learn to cook from the chef by using team-created representations of food. Performances will also include a name for the show, theme music, and a story about the meal they are cooking.

Problem 1: Triathlon Travels
On your mark…get set…go! In this problem, teams will ride on and drive original vehicles in an Odyssey-style triathlon. They will try to score in “curling,” hit the right targets when “jousting,” and “run track” by navigating a course in two directions. Between these events, the team will entertain the audience and the vehicle will change appearance. All of the action will take place in a team-created performance that features the vehicles’ triathlon travels, a commentator, and a coach.

Problem 2: Emoji, Speak for Yourself 
Three-dimensional emojis will be used to communicate the life story of a once famous, but now forgotten, emoji. Teams will create a performance where the emojis demonstrate special functions like growing, turning into a team member, and changing into a different emoji. Performances will also include a choreographed dance, a technical representation of texting, and sounds to enhance the performance. The twist? No spoken language is allowed.

Problem 3: Classics… Mockumentary! Seriously?
There are often two sides to the same story. In this problem, characters don’t always agree as they recount the classic story where they appeared. The team will select a classic from a list and present different characters in a humorous documentary-style performance where details are added, denied, exaggerated, and disputed. There will be interviews, behind-the-scenes “clips,” and voice-overs that take the audience through the story and help present the events as they “really” took place. Whose side will you be on?

Problem 4: Animal House
Over the years, Odyssey of the Mind teams have designed structures that changed into many unbelievable shapes and sizes that balanced and held as much weight as possible. This year, teams will turn their balsa wood structures into animals! Since animals need to eat, they must be fed. The structure will have its appearance transformed and explained during an original performance. During the performance, the structure must hold the team-created food while it supports weights.

Problem 5: A Stellar Hangout
In the outreaches of the universe, there is an Intergalactic Hangout where all sorts of creatures from different worlds stop, eat, refuel, and relax. Teams will create a humorous performance centered on this science fiction hangout that includes original creatures, foods, and a search for space treasure. There will also be a worker character, entertainment, and a futuristic map at the hangout.

Forming teams:
1) We can't seat teams without enough coaches. If you know you are willing or able to coach, please let Marco know ASAP.
2) Teams of 5 to 7 children each will be developed by the coordinator in conjunction with the coach volunteers.
3) After the teams are formed, each coach/team will choose what problem to solve.