Obviously, the sky is the limit when it comes to creativity and this teaches the participants to utilize their imaginations, creativity and to "think outside the box."
"I'm probably most looking forward to meeting all these people from all over the world," Michael said.
Two teams from New Lothrop Area Public Schools will travel to Iowa State University in May to represent Michigan at the Odyssey of the Mind 2009 World Finals, an international problem-solving competition for students of all ages.
Ames will host Odyssey of the Mind in May, bringing in 12,000 people that will use 4,000 rooms in Greater Des Moines and Ames area hotels.
"I was very impressed with how the Odyssey of the Mind philosophy promoted team work and problem solving skills," said Nolan. "It fit very well with the Montessori curriculum which focuses on building self esteem and confidence through cooperative learning."
"They started out as complete individuals, but they've become this amazing team, almost like brothers," volunteer coach Laurie Sheber said.
"The big thing is teamwork," said Michael Sutton, who coaches the Valley Springs team. "They learn how to work together. They learn how to be creative."
When asked what attracted her to coaching Odyssey, Carter said that it appealed to her because it "was more academically oriented ... a mind thing. Students can could apply the techniques they learned in Odyssey to the classroom, in terms of problem-solving and brainstorming, as well as working as a team.
Two Newport High School teams took home state titles this past weekend from the Arkansas Odyssey of the Mind state competition.
To make it to World Finals in Odyssey of the Mind competition is indeed special. To do it repeatedly is amazing. But that is exactly what several Jamestown Middle School Odyssey of the Mind team members are facing - repeat performances at World Finals - as they prepare to attend the World Odyssey of the Mind competition in Ames, Iowa, May 27-30.
"I am really looking forward to going to the world finals to meet people who will be coming here from other countries."
Team hopes to win in Iowa
Located smack-dab in the middle of Iowa, the city of Ames is likely not listed in travel brochures as a vacation hot spot, but that's exactly where six Vacaville third-graders and their families are eager to visit next month.
"Just this alone, the skills you learn from it are, technical, brain storming, creativity," Lyme Central senior Eric McDermott said. "All that will be used later in life and the career you want to go into."
Michigan Odyssey of the Mind teams descended on the fieldhouse of East Kentwood Saturday to compete in the regional competion. The top two finishing teams in each division earned the right to compete in the world finals.
As usual, after months of team brainstorming, the problem-solving fest full of kids wearing goofy costumes and using strange props was anything but normal.
Teams from 10 area schools will be going to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals this May in Ames, Iowa.
Two of the nine Odyssey of the Mind teams from Newark Charter School are headed to Ames, Iowa to compete at the 30th World finals. Odyssey of the Mind is an international, problem solving competition that is designed to promote teamwork, critical (and out of the box) thinking and creativity.
I told her how impressive it was that kids from decidedly humble backgrounds were able to go toe-to-toe (or brain-to-brain) with kids from all across the state.
Livvia was quiet for a few seconds. Then, with a shaky voice, she smiled and said, "It's very special." And then she wiped her eyes with a Kleenex.
Said team captain Michael Chiang Chi-hang, a Secondary Two student: "Winning the championship and representing Hong Kong is a great honor but we are somewhat apprehensive about going abroad and compete with teams from traditionally creative countries like the US, Germany, Japan and the UK.
"However, with a strong tradition and the excellent track record set by our primary-school teams in the past, I think we are all prepared to give it a good try."
"The most appealing thing is that it's 100 percent kid-created," Keeler said. "They don't have the barriers, and they don't have people telling them what they can and can't do."
"We are so proud of their accomplishments at scoring so well in their inaugural year as Odyssey of the Mind teams," said Linda Rushing, team coordinator and guidance counselor.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international program that challenges students to find creative ways of solving problems. These kids were up to the challenge.
"I can't express my appreciation of these students and the amount of hard work and effort they have expanded in getting ready for the competition," Seufert said. "The students have worked days, evenings, Saturdays, and have called me at home about something they wanted to ask. They are serious and dedicated in being the best they can be."
An upswing in the local economy is predicted next weekend when the Williamsport Area High School hosts the annual state competition of the Odyssey of the Mind program.
"I was very impressed with how driven they were and the teamwork they showed," Jolliff said.
Team members, now seniors, have been working together since they were freshmen, when they also competed at the state level. The team's success is largely because of their creative solution for the problem "Superstitions."
While a group of fifth graders manufacture their own flying squirrel, middle schoolers work on a skit that features a "platycow" whose green milk will derail an arranged marriage. It's the season for Odyssey of the Mind and St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School has three successful teams headed for state.
This is her 6th year with the program and "it is very rewarding to build something with your friends. When it works, it's really exciting," she said.
This team showed exceptional creativity in the way they engineered the many different power sources to move and control the action of the creature. The Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award is the highest award in the Odyssey of the Mind program.
Students learned many new skills. With a budget of $125, they had to "do some math." They saved money by using white sheets for "togas." When Eleanor Lowen was cast as a god who comes to life, they created a quick costume change with a "backpack like thing." Alex Adams learned to sew using a sewing machine. Ellie Lancaster brushed up editing skills.
"Our children performed beyond expectation," program coordinator Heidi Jessup said. "I don't think we ever could have imagined that they would all place so well in their first year and be given such a great opportunity to interact with other students from all over the world."
"It's a creative thinking competition. Everything was done by the kids and thought of by the kids," said Michelle Dudar, the mother of one of the Aftershock children. "It's trying to provide what sometimes lacks in traditional education. And there are many different problems to appeal to all different kids."
Kailie Pinney,a sophomore at Binghamton High School, pretended to direct packages delivered around the world Saturday as she participated in an Odyssey of the Mind skit.
"It's so much fun," she said. "It's like a rush."
"But the best part of the program is it combines a whole variety of kids. It's not necessarily all (National Junior Honor Society) kids. It's kids from all different (academic) levels. The most important trait is being creative."
High school student teams from across state converge at 'Olympics' of problem-solving.
"In Odyssey of the Mind, students must use their creative thinking to solve problems," said Dick Raley, director of the competition's Central Region, which includes Mecklenburg County. "Students also gain self-confidence, because they compete in front of judges and spectators.
"It teaches a lot of creativity and brings a lot of creativity from other schools and it teaches teamwork to the kids that are involved," Elyssa said.
Skaneateles has been "very fortunate" to send teams to World Finals for the last four years, McQuiggan said.
Sophomore Katie Burns, 16, said her favorite part of Odyssey of the Mind is the journey the students take to solve the problem.
"I just like the opportunity that it provides the kids," he said. "The chance it gives for them to think outside the box, the chance to present their ideas in a way that they sometimes can't in the regular classroom. This is the kind of thing they thrive in."
"All the parents and coaches were so excited for the team that we jumped out of our seats! The students worked so hard on their performance and we couldn't be more proud of them. The opportunity to compete at the State Finals is a super accomplishment for this team's first year with Odyssey of the Mind," Lynn Schlenker said. Schlenker, along with Tracy Funk, serve as the Parkway team coaches.
Jeffrey Eker, 14, a freshman at Haddonfield Memorial High School, is helping to build a vehicle that has to change its appearance as it moves to each of four locations. He started in Odyssey in the seventh grade.
"I've been in love with it ever since," he wrote in an e-mail. "This is an activity that is not only rewarding academically, but a whole ton of fun."
"I'm actually a winner," said Julianne Humphrey, a member of the "Problem 1: Earth Trek " team. "I win because I have all these friends and all these memories. And there's always next year. You just have to try harder."
"I'm thrilled it's lasted so long," said Laurence Feltham, a retired Binghamton City School District teacher who was one of the organizers of the first competition 25 years ago. He's still involved and will be a judge this year.
For Jawahar, the competition was a symbol of the team's hard work and diligence.
"They really learned to think out of the box," she said. "They figured out how to solve problems as a team, not just by themselves. The best part of it all is being here and seeing it all come together at the end."
The skit was about a parrot, but the lesson was about teamwork and creativity.
MEDINA -- Imagine Hercules in a pink apron or with pieces of cotton for muscles.
The students at Oak Orchard Elementary School in Medina and Washington Hunt in Lockport did as part of the creative performances at 28th annual Odyssey of the Mind competition at Medina High School on Saturday.
Odyssey students pool their talents in exercises that tap collective creativity.
Time well-spent wasn't an issue for Team Centerville, which forged fast friendships from their Odyssey ordeal. Win or lose, said Chandler Adams, "I'm going to give everyone a big group hug for effort."
A monster sporting a Cyclops eye and draped with crushed aluminum cans, backdrops made of painted cardboard and a giant fake eraser were all essential to the Greek play presented by a team of boys from Redding Christian School on Saturday at the annual Odyssey of the Mind tournament.
The students chose to create a vehicle out of a 2-liter plastic soda bottle and a propulsion system out of a zip line and an electric fan.
The Odyssey competitions are designed to cultivate students' creative problem-solving abilities in a competitive setting.
"We have really grown together as a team, we totally bonded," Wineman said.
"That was so much fun," the 11-year-old gushed to his teammates from Rockford's Parkside Elementary School. "When you work together, you can come up with anything. You clump your ideas into one big thing."
"We are proud of what our team accomplished and they performed to the best of their ability," added Lisa Tencza, co-coach of the other Middle School team. "The students worked very hard and their skit and scenery exemplified their creativity. We had fun and take away fond memories."
"You get to use your mind and be creative, you get to build things you never thought you could, and you get to make friends outside ones you already have," the high school senior said. "It's just a really cool experience."
"It gets them to think, use creativity. It's a challenging environment for the kids," said Christian Sievers, a Windsor parent and a judge in the competition held at Santa Rosa High School.
Weedsport junior Jordan Roe, 16, has been performing in Odyssey of the Mind competitions for eight years. "It is so much fun to hang out with each other. The whole teams is really close," Roe said.
With explorers driving to the center of the earth, penguins learning how to bowl and candy makers inventing healthy sweets, Berthoud High School became as wild as a child's imagination Saturday, thanks to the Odyssey of the Mind competition.
It's a given that Jasper Odyssey advisor Villa Waltz was excited by her two team's results. "I'm just so proud of them. I like to tell everybody 'don't ever count them out' because they come through when you don't think they'll ever come through.'
Every team, whether sports or academic, needs certain tools. Soccer players need shin guards and soccer balls while hockey players need helmets, padding, a stick and a puck. But in Odyssey of the Mind, Kringer said some of the things all teams should have handy are duct tape, scissors, hot glue and pizza -- to feed creativity of course.
"[Duct tape] is probably the most important thing," he said.
"This type of competition is very important for our students because it teaches real skills they will need in life," Bassing said. "Students had to work as a team, they had to follow carefully designed rules, and they had to meet specific deadlines.
"It's really fun it's a really good experience especially because we've gone so far so many times."
Fun remains constant. Although preparing for a competition also takes a lot of hard work.
Odyssey of the Mind is a worldwide program that is designed to help children learn to be tomorrow's leaders. The program has students tackling problems by thinking outside the box and coming up with a solution that no one has thought of before.
"It's much more than just your science fair or math contest," Jim Mourey, former coach and vice president of the Illinois Odyssey of the Mind board, said of the program's effect on students. "It's an educational opportunity that takes them beyond the classroom. They're allowed to think outside of the box."
That Belleville West group, which has competed together since the juniors were in fourth-grade and will advance to the World Finals this year, was charged with building a structure out of balsa wood and glue that would support as much weight as possible while absorbing shockwaves.
"I'm really very happy. They did finish and they did get to compete, which some teams don't do," said Rasmussen.
"I'm very happy with the performance, and I know they'll grow from here," said Rasmussen, the Odyssey club adviser and a technology teacher in the School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering at VHS.
Perhaps they are not solving the problems of the entire world, but they are at least taking on NC Odyssey of the Mind Northern Region's problems.
"A skill that the next generation is going to need in the job market is creativity, being able to think outside the box, coming up with new solutions, and that's the essence of Odyssey," Carson said.
Taylor Clarke, another fourthgrader, said, "We came up with the ideas. I was proud of myself. I felt like I did it by myself. We all did it without parents."
"Odyssey is a way for some students to really think outside the box," Frost said. "It's for students who may, in the normal classroom, feel they might not fit in. Odyssey gives them that freedom to be creative, and when they do that, they have all the confidence in the world to do other things."
The lessons that his students have learned could help them in school and for the rest of their lives.
"I've learned to try to be more creative, and I've learned to make friends faster," Dean said.
"I like how we just have fun and build teamwork with other people," Hailey said. "You get to meet more students."
"We get to sprinkle in the personality of everyone into the skit, and it's a great way to work on teamwork," said Bartholomew's teammate, 11-year-old Rita Ramirez.