Problem solving the creative way
Miranda L. Pennock 03/17/09
Skaneateles Central School District will be well represented at the state Odyssey of the Mind competition.
Five teams will travel to Binghamton for the April 4 contest. On Saturday, 19 teams began their journey when they arrived in Auburn for the regional competition.
"They're very excited," program advisor Kelley McQuiggan said March 11 during the students' community program.
The community program is when all the students in Odyssey of the Mind, from grades three through 12, run through a dress rehearsal-type of presentation for family and friends.
"Skaneateles has a reputation of doing very well in Odyssey of the Mind," McQuiggan said.
The program is a "creative problem solving competition" and is participated in worldwide. Each year there are five problems set out for students to solve. Skaneateles has participated in the program since 1982 and McQuiggan has been coordinator for seven. Overall, she has been involved in various roles for 22 years, she said.
"Both my boys were involved," she said, adding that this is the first year she doesn't have one of her children in the competition due to a conflict with sports.
Of the 19 teams Skaneateles has this year, one group of students prides themselves on sticking together. For the last two years Morel Malcolm, Jeff Kringer, Sarah Tomlinson, Maria Schillace, Meghan Collins, Shannon O'Brien and Tori Field have chosen to team up.
All seventh-graders, the kids agreed that Odyssey of the Mind is a favorite pastime for them.
"You have to be really creative because you want to get the most points," Collins said.
And that's just what the middle schoolers did on Saturday as the Division II team earned first place on their problem "The Lost Labors of Heracles."
"It also has a lot to do with teamwork," Field said. "You kind of have to really work together, try not to get on each others nerves to get the problem done."
Between working together and being as creative as they can, teams also have to come up with a skit to demonstrate their problem and how they find the solution. Some students performed mini-productions that reflected medieval times, which was what Bailey Herr, Olivia Gage, Jimmy Dancsak and Grant Thompson did as they tried, and were successful, at getting "Don Ray" (Thompson) married off in their skit.
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.
Skaneateles wins big
Results from Odyssey of the Mind regional competition
Problem 1: Earth Trek
Division I (Grades three through five)
Second place -- State Street Elementary School Team A, Coach Chandler Dickinson
Third -- State Street Elementary School Team C, Coaches Todd Marshall and Beth Nicholson
Division II (Grades six through eight)
Third -- Skaneateles Middle School Team A, Coach Steve Kochan
Division III (Grades nine through 12)
Second -- Skaneateles High School, Coach Chandler Dickinson
Problem 2: Teach Yer Creature
First -- Skaneateles Middle School Team A, Coach Chandler Dickinson
Problem 3: The Lost Labor of Heracles
First -- State Street Elementary School Team C, Coaches Randy Elliott and Shelly Kraetz
First -- Skaneateles Middle School Team B, Coach Becky Muir
Second -- Skaneateles Middle School Team A - Coaches: Susanne Marshall and Charmaine Krebs
Problem 4: Shock Waves
Second -- State Street Elementary School Team C, Coach Tim Peterson
Third -- State Street Elementary School Team B, Coach Steve Clymer
Problem 5: Superstition
First -- State Street Elementary School Team A, Coaches Kathy Herr, Jackie Gage, Patty Cottrill
First -- Skaneateles Middle School Team A, Coach Kim Driscoll
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