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The following problems are for practice only. To view the synopses of the official 2022 - 2023 Odyssey of the Mind problems, click here!

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Animal Rhymes

(This problem is adapted from Competition Stimulates Creativity by Dr. C. Samuel Micklus and Samuel W. Micklus.)

This activity may be done with any number of students. However we suggest you divide the class into groups of 5-7 students and have a contest to see which group comes up with the greatest number of creative responses. You may wish to designate a timekeeper so you can concentrate on the quality of the responses.


  1. Read the problem to the team.
  2. Give the team one minute to think, then begin the 2-minute response time. (Increase response time accordingly for groups larger than seven members).
  3. Mark each response as either common or creative (do not allow repeats or very similar responses).
  4. Call "time" at the end of 2 minutes, allowing any student responding at this time to finish.
  5. Total the score, awarding 1 point for each common response and 5 points for each creative response.

The Problem:

  1. You have 1 minute to think and 2 minutes to respond. You may ask questions during your thinking time, but time will continue. You may not talk to each other at any time.
  2. You will receive 1 point for each common response and 5 points for each creative or humorous response.
  3. You will take turns responding. You may not skip your turn or repeat a response. If one person cannot think of a response, response time will end.
  4. Your problem is to make a rhyme using a name or species of an animal. For example, you might say, "I think mice are nice" or "There's a cat in the hat."

Judging the Responses:

Examples of common responses:

Simple statements with little humor and anticipated rhymes: There's a deer over here; Black bears have black hair.
Poorly rhymed statements: I saw a lion who was blind; There's a dog on the log.
Popular rhymes: I saw a butterfly flutter by; I hate meeces to pieces; See you later, alligator _ in a while crocodile.

Examples of creative responses:

Humorous or unique rhymes: There's a caterpillar in a roto-tiller; I can step on an ant, but on an uncle I can't; The tiger's stripes were different types; I lost my baseball bat _ do you know where it's at?
Multiple rhymes: The bear ate a pear while in its lair; The moose got loose and chased the goose; Bird is a word that I've often heard.
Combining animal names with peoples' names: Donald Duck had bad luck; Bugs Bunny doesn't eat honey; Larry Bird is seldom heard.