FAQ

Q:  How many people are on a team?
A: There is a limit of seven members per team. There is n minimum but we strongly encourage each team to have at least 5 members.

Q:  How do I get started?
A:  When you register we will send you a packet of materials and your local organization will contact you. Start Your Odyssey is a good place to begin!

Q:  What is the deadline to register?
A:  Registration deadlines are determined by your local organization.  In most cases, the registration period last until December or January of the school year. CCI will accept registrations until your local deadline has been met. You may join after the deadline to get the materials, develop your creativity, and become familiar with our program but you will not be eligible to compete this year.

Q:  If my school joins Odyssey, are we required to go to competition?
A:  No. Participating in a tournament is an option, not a requirement. Many schools conduct intramural Odyssey of the Mind tournaments, integrate OotM into the classroom curriculum, or use it as a club.

Q:  How much does it cost to join Odyssey of the Mind?
A:  An entire school can join for $135. See a price breakdown here. Most tournaments  have a modest registration fee for participating teams.

Q:  What is the cost limit?
A: The “cost limit” for a long term problem is a spending cap, not a spending requirement.  Everything that appears in a solution has a value and we limit the amount of money teams may use in their solution. This creates an even level of competition while encouraging creative use of materials through recycling and re-purposing. In the problem synopsis you can see the maximum for each problem.

Q:  Can my team compete if I do not attend a public school?
A: Yes.  Students are welcome to participate through home schools, public and private schools, and through community groups such as a church, Rotary, etc. Learn more about memberships by reviewing our Odyssey of the Mind Program Guide.

Q:  Can we have a team of students from different schools?
A:  Yes. Each team may contain ONE student who attends a different school or is home schooled. If more than one team member does not attend the member school then an additional membership(s) will be necessary.

Q:  How many problems do we choose to solve?
A: Teams generally select one long term problem for competition. Our problems include five that are competitive and one that is a primary problem for young teams. At each level of competition the team will solve a spontaneous problem as well.

Q:  Isn’t Odyssey of the Mind for smart kids?
A:  Yes and No. It’s for students of all ages and at all levels of learning.  Our divergent problems allow each student to incorporate their interest in her or his work. In solving problems creatively every student becomes more engaged in their learning.

Q:  When did Odyssey of the Mind begin?
A:  The first competition was held in 1978. To learn about how we got started you can read more here.

Q:  Can we compete if our state does not have an active association?  How does that work?
A: Yes. After you register, CCI will send you your official Odyssey of the Mind membership packet containing everything you need to get started including the complete set of problems and the Program Guide. As a non-affiliated school, you are welcome to attend a tournament at a nearby association and are automatically eligible to participate in World Finals.

Q:  How much time will my team & coaches need to dedicate to OotM?
A:  Time varies widely. The school, coach or team will determine the practice schedule. We recommend each team to meet once a week and then more frequently when the tournament approaches. Because OotM teams must create their solutions without Outside Assistance, the role of the coach is often coordinating practices and facilitating teamwork. We encourage parents to share in the coaching duties.

Q:  What is Outside Assistance?
A:  Each team has a roster of team members. Only those students may contribute to the problem solution. If a team wants to do something but does not know how, such as sewing a costume, it may ask for someone to teach them how to sew. It is OA if someone else sews the costume, or suggests to the team that something be sewn, or to give a lesson on sewing while the team is trying to join materials together. Also, if the team has more than seven members contribute to the solution, that additional person’s work counts as Outside Assistance.

Q:  Why is getting Outside Assistance a penalty?
A:  Odyssey of the Mind is a learning experience. Others are encouraged to teach the process of creative problem solving but teams must do their own work. In the end they learn how to approach problems with an open mind, develop confidence in their problem solving abilities, and create solutions that are new and unique.

Q: How can I learn more about coaching?
A: Contact your local association to find a coaching training in your area. You can also purchase a Coaches Training DVD from our store. Here are some additional tips for new coaches as well.

Q: What division would my team be in?
A: Find out through this handy division finder!

Feel free to contact us with any additional questions!