Why odyssey of the mind is good for kids
The Odyssey of the Mind teaches students to learn creative problem-solving methods while having fun in the process. For more than twenty five years, this unique program has helped teachers generate excitement in their students. By tapping into creativity, and through encouraging imaginative paths to problem-solving, students learn skills that will provide them with the ability to solve problems — great and small — for a lifetime. The Odyssey of the Mind teaches students how to think divergently by providing open-ended problems that appeal to a wide range of interests. Students learn how to identify challenges and to think creatively to solve those problems. They are free to express their ideas and suggestions without fear of criticism. The creative problem-solving process rewards thinking “outside of the box.” While conventional thinking has an important place in a well-rounded education, students need to learn how to think creatively and productively.
Millions of students from kindergarten through college have participated in the Odyssey of the Mind. Since the Odyssey of the Mind eliminates the fear of criticism, even shy students are afforded the opportunity to open up and express themselves. Students learn to work in teams. Each year, five new competitive problems are presented for the teams to solve. These long-term problems are solved over weeks and months. Some of the problems are more technical in nature, while others are artistic or performance based. Each long-term problem rewards “Style” in the solution. This helps teach students that they should not simply try to solve problems but take the next step of enhancing their solutions. The teams are invited to participate in competition and present their solution with other teams. At the competition, the teams are given an on-the-spot “spontaneous” problem to solve. The combination of long-term problem-solving, Style, and spontaneous problem-solving produces a confident, able student.
School memberships, Community groups and home-schooled members may enter one team per problem.
Ages and divisions
Division I — Grades K-5 (U.S.): Less than 12 years of age
Division II — Grades 6-8 (U.S.): Less than 15 years of age
Division III — Grades 9-12 (U.S.): Oldest team member does not qualify for Divisions I or II and is attending regular school–not a college or university or anything similar (Other International).
Division IV — Collegiate for ALL TEAMS. All team members must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and be enrolled in at least one course at a two- or four-year college or university.
An international extravaganza
The Odyssey of the Mind is truly a worldwide competition. Participants include teams from Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Europe, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Mexico, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, and practically every state in the U.S. The annual Odyssey of the Mind World Finals is an event to behold. It embodies the international spirit of creativity!
The heart and Soul: Volunteers
The program is run through the parent volunteers. 2014 was my first time volunteering to coach a team. The role of the coach is:
• Scheduler (how often and where team meets)
• Facilitator (helps the team stay organized)
– determine goals and the path to reach them
– helps them read and understand the problem
– helps team keep track of tasks and deadlines
– takes notes (remind them of their previous ideas)
– leads brainstorming sessions (without injecting ideas)
– explains scoring
– brings in “experts” to discuss & teach skills
• Teacher (teaches basic skills)
• Asks QUESTIONS (to help team focus, open-ended)
• Assists team in developing a timeline for projects
• Spontaneous practice (practice often, variety, strategies)
• Forms (helps Primary and Division I teams fill out forms)
• Go-fer (takes team members to store for supplies)
• Snack Organizer (fuel for busy minds)
The Odyssey of the mind Regional Competition took place Saturday March 8, 2014 at Ryle High School and Gray Middle School in Boone County, KY.
Teams from the region showed up to compete in the long term and spontaneous problems.
My daughter and her team placed First in the competition and will be advancing to Nationals.
To learn more about Odyssey of the mind or to enroll your group for next year go to http://www.odysseyofthemind.com/