Ames, I.A. – Over 20,000 students and supporters from around the world will travel to Iowa for the 39th annual Odyssey of the Mind World Finals from May 23-26 at Iowa State University. Students from different cultures and widely varying economic backgrounds will prove that creativity is universal by coming together for this event. They will demonstrate their creative solution to an Odyssey of the Mind problem while appreciating the creativity of others.
The teams have worked throughout the school year solving an OotM problem and were judged as the most creative in a series of rigorous state and national competitions. At ISU, the teams will represent their state and country in hopes to prove that they are the world’s most creative problem-solvers. Odyssey of the Mind has teams competing from throughout the United States and in 13 other countries including Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, and Switzerland.
Although this is a competition to become a world champion, kids will form life-long friendships with their teammates and opponents. These friendships span the globe! Through Odyssey, they learn to communicate and appreciate different cultures. The Odyssey of the Mind “family” is made up of many different cultures, personalities, and ages. There will be 837 teams participating that were considered the best of the best.
They will come with interesting costumes, original stage designs, and innovative inventions — all part of solving an Odyssey problem. These problems are judged on creativity and risk-taking. The students learn to apply their creativity to problem solving. Teams also learn how to manage time and money, how to share ideas and negotiate with one another, and to perform in front of an audience. Because the problems provide for divergent solutions students incorporate their knowledge and interests into their solutions such as math, history, art, music, science, acrobatics, athletics, robotics, and anything else a child can imagine and enjoy.
This year’s choice of problems include:
- Triathlon Travels: Teams will ride on and drive original vehicles in an Odyssey-style triathlon. They will try to score in “curling,” hit the right targets when “jousting,” and “run track” by navigating a course in two directions. Between these events, the team will entertain the audience and the vehicle will change appearance.
- Emoji, Speak for Yourself: Three-dimensional emojis will be used to communicate the life story of a once famous, but now forgotten, emoji. Teams will create a performance where the emojis demonstrate special functions like growing, turning into a team member, and changing into a different emoji. Performances will also include a choreographed dance, a technical representation of texting, and sounds to enhance the performance. The twist? No spoken language is allowed.
- Classics…Mockumentary! Seriously? There are often two sides to the same story. In this problem, characters don’t always agree as they recount the classic story where they appeared. The team will select a classic from a list and present different characters in a humorous documentary-style performance where details are added, denied, exaggerated, and disputed. There will be interviews, behind-the-scenes “clips,” and voice-overs that take the audience through the story and help present the events as they “really” took place. Whose side will you be on?
- Animal House: Eighteen grams of balsa wood and glue are designed into structures that have been known to hold thousands of pounds. This year, teams will turn their balsa wood structures into animals! Since animals need to eat, they must be fed. The structure will have its appearance transformed and explained during an original performance. During the performance, the structure must hold the team-created food while it supports weights.
- Stellar Hangout: In the outreaches of the universe, there is an Intergalactic Hangout where all sorts of creatures from different worlds stop, eat, refuel, and relax. Teams will create a humorous performance centered on this science fiction hangout that includes original creatures, foods, and a search for space treasure. There will also be a worker character, entertainment, and a futuristic map at the hangout.
There are also many other events at World Finals, such as the Creativity Festival. Booths from each Odyssey state or country will challenge attendees with creative games. NASA will have a booth at the festival handing out informational materials. Entry to the competitions and festival are free and open to the public. The competition will conclude with an Awards Ceremony, where over 18,000 people will gather to see the World Champions of Creativity announced.
Like most kids, Odyssey of the Mind team members will exceed expectations when given the opportunity to express themselves. OotM Found Dr. Sam Micklus says, “Odyssey of the Mind students have the best minds in the world.”
Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving program for students from K-college. Founded in 1978, it is the oldest and largest creative problem-solving competition in the world. Learn more at www.odysseyofthemind.com. Visit our World Finals page and find teams from your town! Simply click “competition schedule” and enter your area.
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