Some local students are going on a worldwide odyssey.
"It's eight months for eight minutes," Miller said. "You spend all that time for eight minutes in front of the judges. But you would never give it up."
"Many of them have been together since they were in Kindergarten. So this is their final year and their first time ever going to world, which is great," said Mickey Vanderwerker, coach for Odyssey of the Mind.
It's not often that you can step into a school and see a cookie, bowl of cereal, piece of cake, sundae, and carton of milk walking the halls -- unless you've been to Fairview Elementary recently. A five-member, fourth-grade team created food costumes in preparation for Missouri's Odyssey of the Mind regional competition, which was held April 10 on the MU Science & Technology campus in Rolla.
"I think (worlds is) going to be really cool because there are going to be people from all over the world," Karly Evans said.
A team of five students from El Dorado Middle School in Concord was among the top five finishers in the statewide "Odyssey of the Mind" competition March 27 in Brentwood.
Rockford students won first place in five of 15 divisions at the Odyssey of the Mind state finals Saturday, while teams from other area schools topped the rankings in six more categories.
"Because it's problem solving and its Level Four thinking it actually enhances our students problem solving capabilities, and it directly relates to the curriculum," Arndt said.
"The great thing about Odyssey is the kids do it all on their own, and they're not allowed to have outside assistance," said Becky Brouwer, who heads the tournament. "It teaches them to brainstorm and to resolve conflicts within the group."
"They have to perform their problem...We don't ask kids to do that too often. It's usually pencils and paper, but to do this they have to think creatively," McKay said. "Anytime they have to think critically and problem-solve, it will help them in the classroom."
Michael turned months of teamwork into a one-man show, building column structures out of balsa wood and acting in a skit.
"It validates their creativity and their ability to work together as a team," said principal Karen Leonardi. "They are fantastic little people."
This March, a team of fourth and fifth graders from Oakton Elementary School came in first place in the NovaWest regional Odyssey of the Mind tournament.
"It was really exciting to see the same seven team members back involved this year, and to see the siblings who have been involved this year," Winans said.
They also offered an imagined discovery of the ruins of the iconic Hollywood sign in the year 3703.
Nineteen teams of students from the Charlotte region finished first or second Saturday in the Odyssey of the Mind State Finals and have qualified for the World Finals next month.
"I learned to be loud and to be creative," said Hannah Cooke, a Port St. Lucie fourth-grader who said she is no longer shy and afraid to speak up. "In class, they always tell you to be quiet, but this has taught me I can think outside the box."
Ten-year-old Ava Sweeney will be among the first in her school to make it to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals and she said she is especially looking forward to learning about the other countries which will be represented at next month's event in Michigan.
The Odyssey of the Mind Team from Webster Hill Elementary School in West Hartford took second place at the statewide Odyssey of the Mind Competition in Bethel.
The atmosphere was electric in the crowded rooms, auditoriums and hallways of Williamsport Area High School as the school Saturday hosted its second consecutive state Odyssey of the Mind tournament.
The two Odyssey of the Mind teams representing Rocky Mount Academy performed well in the recent regional competition held at the Dunn Center. Competing against public and independent schools in the area, RMA's sixth-grade team took first place, and the third-grade team took third place.
"They're a clever group," Benfield said. "It's very funny. The accused is a cream donut that claims he provides Vitamin C, as well as Vitamins R, E, A and M."
"The only thing it requires of the kids is that they be problem solvers or free thinkers or miniature entrepreneurs," Matthis said. "It requires a positive attitude and hard work and a sense of humor. It requires kids of disparate age, ability and backgrounds to work together as a team."
"This is a program that, when people are interviewing for jobs, and they see that you've done this, they really put you at the top of their lists now," Tung said. "They learn to problem-solve on their own."
"These kids have put in about 120 hours of work outside of school," she said as the students worked around her after school on Tuesday. Their schedule for that evening was set from 3-7 p.m.
"What impressed me about this team is that they were competing and having fun doing it," said Mary Denise Slade, the team's facilitator. "They were smiling the whole time."
"The positive synergy between you and your teammates - it is life-changing," said Sierra. "It's a very good outlet for a lot of creativity."
The Highlands Middle School Odyssey of the Mind team won State for Problem 2 of the Division II in the Odyssey of the Mind state competition held at Eastern Kentucky University on March 27.
A group of Temecula students has tasted success at regional and state competitions for the Odyssey of the Mind problem-solving contest.
From this whole experience, they gained teamwork the most. It's definitely carried into school. I've seen the quiet kids grow by leaps and bounds. They are more confident and feel part of this new family. Kids who used to take over in groups now try to include everyone. I can't say enough good things about it." Anne Doyle and her co-coach Deb Meriani coached Seamus Doyle, Stefan Marczuk, Zack Martwoski, Jason Datillo, Samantha Pietrzyk, Mazie Barrett and Olivia Pereira.
Sanford High School's two "Odyssey of the Mind" teams have qualified to advance to the program's world championship at Michigan State University at the end of May.
"This helps you to become a better, well-rounded problem solver," said Maddie Taylor, one of the seven junior high girls who hope to participate in the international competition scheduled for May 26 to 30 at Michigan State University.
Two Brentwood Elementary School teams garnered first place in their respective divisions at the Odyssey of the Mind State Tournament held at Heritage High School in late March.
"It's really a wonderful program," said Mrs. Bellafatto. "It challenges kids. It teaches them to work together and to think creatively to problem-solve, and that problems can be solved by thinking 'outside the box'," she said.
"The idea is not to give them enough money to be able to buy a solution to problem, but to recycle and use their imagination and teamwork and all the skills that are so important in the real world," Freitag said. "I see a lot of kids that gain confidence from participating in Odyssey of the Mind and social skills from working in a team and sharing ideas."
"I do it for the kids," Fazio said. "It's amazing what it does for their self-confidence. In school, there's always a right and a wrong answer. In real life, there are often many answers to a given problem. They come up with their solution and then they go to competition and see other kids who did it differently. They think, 'Wow, there are a million different solutions and no wrong answer.'"
Norway School District teams took home 13 trophies from the state Odyssey of the Mind competition in which students were judged on performances they originated and on how well they solved a problem given to them on the spot.
The team was challenged to build a human-powered vehicle that could be driven though a team-created nature trail. While driving on the trail, the vehicle was required to beautify or clean up the environment, encounter wildlife, overcome an obstacle, and suffer a breakdown and then be repaired.
Ten teams from Winfield schools participated in the Regional Odyssey of the Mind Competition on Feb. 27 in Colwich.
The team met on evenings and weekends, often working five hours at a time, just to find a solution for their pre-described problem. Over the course of the project the students practiced, rehearsed, found problems, argued, and then would compromise with one another to figure out solutions.
"Odyssey of the Mind participants have to explore the depth of their creativity to present the solution to their problem while using minimal resources," she added.
Autumn Ayers understands the challenges of facing a project that forces people to think outside the box.
As a former Odyssey of the Mind participant and 1995 graduate of South Williamsport Area High School, Ayers is due to perform her latest piece "Mayhem and Majesty" here next weekend as lead vocalist with Squonk Opera.
Helmandollar told the Dudley students that she got her first taste of acting as a member of the Odyssey of the Mind (OotM) team at Dudley Elementary School.
Students from several Loudoun County Public Schools will heading to East Lansing, MI, to compete in the the 2010 Odyssey of the Mind World Finals from May 26 - 29 following strong performances at the state competition last weekend.
"Odyssey is successful because it engages students in collaborative problem-solving while also giving them the chance to explore their imaginations and express their unique creativity," said Debra Garling, the district's Odyssey of the Mind coordinator.
Odyssey of the Mind competition
Kaylie said they were nervous going into the spontaneous problem, but they relaxed when they saw the judges' funny costumes - a multicolored clown wig and a pirate hat, among others - and reminded each other that the judges wanted them to do well.
Students from New Haven Elementary recently competed in the Odyssey of the Mind State Competition which was held on March 27th at Eastern Kentucky University. The team came in 3rd place, competing against 8 other teams from across the state.
The big catch: adults aren't allowed to help at all. "Anything that resulted wasn't because coaches coached them to greatness," said parent volunteer coach Polly Tait. "They completely generated everything on their own."
"Odyssey seeks to inspire kids to find new ways to solve all types of problems through critical and creative thinking," said Jeannie Goertz, an assistant professor in EKU's Department of Curriculum and Instruction, campus coordinator of the event. "The more students apply their creativity, the more creative they become."
Teams advance in competition
He said that while students will do their best at the competition, he'll be reminding them of what an honor it is just to be selected for the competition.
"It's a good chance for them," said Weatherhead. "It's an outlet for their creative side."
"Everyone contributed different ideas and we put them together," said team member Dan Boothroyd.
"Our team gets along well and has great creative skills. They also love to have fun."
"I've used this as college essays. Odyssey of the Mind has really helped me with everything. I've become more of a leader, normally when I was younger I was really shy and now I have to lead, so that helped me out a lot," said Molly Witter with the York Central School team.
Teams from local schools will be competing today in the Odyssey of the Mind scholastic problem-solving competition at the state tournament at Binghamton University.
"I feel very enlightened to be around them. As adults, we get kind of clouded by the way things are supposed to be and we forget about the possibilities," she said.
Lynn Larsen said that she and her husband first saw a competition when they were students at Purdue University in 1991 and decided to get involved with the program when they had children.
"We were so impressed by the teamwork, intelligence and creativity of the students, that we had to get involved," she said.
The students are doing everything themselves, from sewing costumes to building a set out of wood and painting the rotating backdrop: one side for the scene that takes place underwater and another for the one that takes place near the pyramids in Egypt.
The Conejo Valley Unified School District fielded 14 teams at the Odyssey of the Mind event which took place at the Marshall Fundamental Secondary School in Pasadena in February.
What do you get when girls fall into a land made of candy, meet a seven foot tall talking gingerbread man, must save Princess Frostine, and are attacked by marshmallows? Well, for seven scientific and creative girls from Ursuline Academy, the answer is a trip to Michigan State University to represent their school, city and state at the Odyssey of the Mind, World Finals.
Paper airplanes, talking food, historical sites and costumed performers took control of the Sanford High School campus Saturday, vying for top spots in the 2010 Maine Odyssey of the Mind competition.
After months of preparation, the teams had the opportunity to highlight their hard work. Odyssey of the Mind is an international organization that provides the opportunity for children to develop creative and critical thinking skills and apply them to real-life situations.
The Rockford area was positively represented in the regional competition of Odyssey of the Mind on Saturday at Greenville Middle School.
School officials plan to spend much of their next meeting recognizing some outstanding students.
"These kids have worked very hard and they deserve some recognition," said Dave Maull, Indian River School District spokesman.
"They did everything themselves. They wrote the script, painted the airplanes and did everything else," Shoemer said. "I just tried to keep them focused, and anytime they made me laugh I tried to keep it in the script."
"It really pushes you creatively, and if you love building or acting or being a part of a team, it is a wonderful environment," Mitchell said.
Another team member, second-year studio art student Danielle Dubaybetters, said the original and challenging problems are one of the reasons she enjoys Odyssey of the Mind.
After they were moved into a new Odyssey of the Mind region this year, Rockford students took first place in eight of 14 categories Saturday at Greenville Middle School in the final qualifying event before next month's state finals.
Several North Attleboro Middle School teams used their creative problem-solving skills to participate in the Massachusetts Odyssey of the Mind tournament on Saturday.
More than 700 students invaded Sanford on Saturday for the state Odyssey of the Mind competition.
"We were terrible, and it is still one of the best memories I have from grade school," she said. "Even though we made a whole bunch of mistakes and even though we didn't rank very well, we had so much fun putting it together, seeing what works, what didn't work and why it didn't work."
Gregory School of Science, Math and Technology took home first place from the Odyssey of the Mind Coastal Regional competition.
The team's creative solution showed careful thought and great imagination: The needle part of the skyscraper is carried across the Atlantic Ocean by a tsunami. After 1,000 years, a girl finds it in Scotland. Both treasures end up in the same museum in Scotland.
"It was really fun. If you had fun, you won," said fourth grade student Marti Greco philosophically.
"But," added Haley, "It's not just about having fun. It's about being creative, showing good sportsmanship, and focusing on what you're doing."
The district had 11 Odyssey of the Mind teams this year, with eight judged at the recent regional competition.
It was a good day for the Division III Odyssey of the Mind teams as the weekend Long's Peak Tournament. Competing on the home court at Berthoud High School, both teams took first place in their combined long term and spontaneous problem and earned a berth at the state level competition.
"I'm a quiet person, but I had to get up and sing," said 11-year-old Kamila Rosasco. "I had to learn to be louder and bolder. It has helped me a lot."
While Odyssey of Mind helps Kamila conquer her shyness, it helps other students in different ways.
This year marks the 30th Anniversary for Odyssey in New York state. Teams successful in Binghamton will have the opportunity to move on to the world competition at Michigan State University at the end of May.
A host of area students are on their way to state competition, but not in conventional pursuits. These students are participating in Odyssey of the Mind, an international “thinking outside the box?program that “provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college,?according to the Web site, http://www.txodyssey.org.
"The students did a great job," said HCSD Superintendent Jack Howe, who was at the event. "Their skit was creative, very entertaining. You could tell they had fun and put a great deal of effort into it."
In all about 1,500 students from the Southeastern Pennsylvania region were expected to compete Saturday, according to Faga.
"These students work so hard on these projects. It's really their work, the rules are very strict about that," she said.
"We did really well. The kids had a great time and enjoyed working together as a team."
"It brings out something in the students that you might not see in the other school activities they do," said Tony Abbatiello, the regional director.
The kids' ability to create and work out problems is why Erika Bodell volunteers her time year after year to Odyssey of the Mind.
"It's a great venue for kids who may not be the most brainy or athletic," she says, "but still want to compete in something or be part of a group."
The 30th annual Michigan Odyssey of the Mind State Finals will be held April 17 at Davenport University in Grand Rapids. Over 140 teams will compete at the State Finals for the title of Odyssey of the Mind State Champion.
Two teams from Eisenhower Elementary School are headed to a state Odyssey of the Mind competition.
Odyssey of the Mind teams at Sussex Technical High School recently competed at the state competition held at the University of Delaware and both went to the podium to receive awards.
The Food Court team wrote a script about a raisin accused of causing wrinkles. The team's play was presented in three genres: soap opera, '70s, and a Star Trek spoof and won the Renatra Fusca Award for outstanding creativity.
General Motors has nothing on a group of seventh-graders at the Hainesport School.
The students in the school's Talented and Gifted Program constructed their own working car, using bicycle pedals and a chain, for the New Jersey Odyssey of the Mind's Lighthouse Regional Tournament at Ewing High School on March 6, a problem-solving competition.
The fourth grade, Division 1 team used a News theme and the Division 2 Middle School students did a take-off on Alice in Wonderland, calling it Katie in BalsaLand.
AH teams compete in regionals
"My daughter participated in Odyssey for years and credits spontaneous with getting her into medical school," Barbara Griego, Technical Problem Captain said. "All those years of quick thinking and creative problem solving were perfect training for her admission interview."
Two Indian River School District teams captured state championships at the Delaware Odyssey of the Mind competition at the University of Delaware on March 6.
"You're always hopeful that you will (do well), but when you start something, you know that's your learning year so your expectations may not be as high," she said. "But these are an amazing group of kids. They've just accomplished so much."
Independence pupils compete at Odyssey of Mind
"They learn how to create. They learn about mechanical design. They learn how to build something, how to saw something," said Cliff Robinson, Katherine's father. "It teaches them to do things they never thought they could do."
Morgan said the team formed because in school they learn a lot about logic and they wanted to do something that involved creative thinking.
Binghamton University will host the 30th annual Odyssey of the Mind New York state finals tournament March 27.
"We are training these kids to do this stuff and later on, if they have a boss who asks for something, an OMer will raise their hand and say, 'I will, I can,'" said Jamie Wheelock, Michigan Region 3 director.
Two teams from the Indian River School District captured state championships at the Delaware Odyssey of the Mind competition at the University of Delaware on Saturday. A high school team took first place in the "Nature Trail'R" category and a middle school team won first place in the "Food Court" category. An elementary school team also won the Renatra Fusca Award for outstanding creativity.
The Argyle adventurers rediscovered the ice man and his tools, discovered the Hubble Space Telescope, made their audience laugh and sang a musical tune, all in eight minutes.
The four sixth-graders from Argyle were competing in Division II of the Discovered Treasures category at the annual regional Odyssey of the Mind competition at the Hudson Falls High School on Saturday
They were all at the "Odyssey of the Mind," a problem-solving and team building competition at Park View last weekend. Provided with a specific scenario and problem, the teams performed their own skit, or designed and constructed their own solution to the problem. After seeing some of the solutions that the teams built, I've hired one of the grade school teams to build an addition onto my house.
The kids said even though they had to learn about a lot of different subjects to prep for the event, the most important thing they've learned was how to work as a team.
“We have to celebrate kids’ intellectual creativity and problem solving,” Garling said. “If you can creatively think about and creatively solve a problem, whatever problem comes your way, you’ll be able to solve it. They are the kids who are going to make a difference in this world. They are the best of the best. ”
Odyssey of the Mind is an academic competition that calls on students to demonstrate their creativity and skill in solving problems ranging from building mechanical devices to interpreting literary classics. They bring their solutions to competitions held on the local, state, and world levels.
It's not often that you can step into a school and see seven little Greek goddesses in flowing white robes gracing the hallways — or students dressed as vegetables.
The Odyssey of the Mind's Region 13 competition was at the Robert W. Harrold Campus at the Delaware-Chenango-Madison-Otsego Board of Cooperative Educational Services in Sidney Center.
McNutt said that having four teams of varying experience levels at the competition led to a beneficial result — camaraderie. “The older students got the younger kids excited about competing,” he said.
“The experience has made me very tuned in to recognizing creativity and promoting creativity,” she explains. “Being able to think outside the box, being creative, is a skill that needs to be promoted in this next generation.”
For example, one SCW team built a car that completed several tasks, including cleaning up the environment, finding wildlife, and encountering dangerous weather.
These three young women create often spot-on, hilarious works that seem generated by the Odyssey of the Mind curriculum popular in high schools, in which students write their own scripts, design and build and paint their own sets, construct their own costumes, and perform their takes on cultural, social and political issues.
"We get to let our creative juices flow and hang out with people we like to hang out with," said Brooke Bart, 15, who competed on a team from Maine-Endwell High School.
Stewart believed his son, who portrayed a block of cheese serving as a judge in the debate, got a lot out of the experience. “It forced him to think for himself and expand his creativity,” said Stewart. “It’s a lot about independence and problem solving.”
The students selected problem two. It is a difficult problem but with months of creative work and practice, these students were prepared.
"They are learning skills that will benefit them for life," Otte said. These include teamwork, decision making, brainstorming and time management. There will be about 45 teams in attendance, regional Director Stacie Haynes said.
"It teaches them to overcome problems," said McNutt. "It's OK if you fail. You get back up and start over again ... the world won't end if you don't win Odyssey of the Mind. But if you learn from your mistakes, then it's worth every minute."
“Students are definitely learning critical thinking,” Kukula said. “They're learning to be resourceful because they have a cost limit.”
A group of Hollidaysburg students is getting ready to wow Germany with their smarts.
Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state, and World level.
If you haven't heard of Odyssey of the Mind you are missing out. It may be the best kept secret in education where I live.
As a child growing up in Rockford, Berta was involved in Odyssey of the Mind and was inspired by many of his teachers as well as his parents. His local fame was solidified when he scored a perfect mark on his SAT, which, among other things, earned him a scholarship at Princeton University. He graduated from Princeton in 2007.