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Young Fairview Elementary minds take a crack at creative problem solving

CARTHAGE, Mo. -- 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.

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. Teamwork, decision-making, brainstorming, time management, and creativity, thinking outside of the box, are all skills that need to be promoted in this next generation. The competition gives them an avenue to learn these skills that will benefit them for life.

Testing their problem solving skills, the Fairview team performed a "food court" skit for the judges regarding one of five different long-term problems. The problem is to create and present a humorous performance where a food item is accused of being unhealthy and must defend itself among its food peers. All characters are food items and will include "the accused," "the accuser," a jury that is not portrayed by team members, and additional team-created characters. The jury will reveal its decision to the audience, thus the problem since no team member may directly portray the jury. The FV team decided that the jury would be 5 happy blueberries in Bran Cereal's bowl

The Fairview Team, Dylan Calhoon, Kaden Carter, Abby DeVrieze, Andi Morris, Tatum Trotter and sponsor Lynne DeVrieze, are all new to Odyssey of the Mind.

"I thought since it was the first year for all of us, we would 'get our feet wet' and learn about the program in order to help us in future years," said DeVrieze. "This is an amazing group of kids who have accomplished so much. It looks like we are 'getting our feet wet' all the way to the World Finals!"

Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan is the host site for OM's World Finals May 26 - 30. There will be approximately 18,000 people from the US and 25 foreign countries, including Hong Kong, Beijing, Singapore, South Africa, The Netherlands, France, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Canada, and many more.

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