Odyssey of the Mind 2022

Article by Christina Reiner, David Fique, & Christine Charles

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving program involving students from kindergarten through college. Team members work together at length to solve a predefined long-term problem and present their solution to the problem at a competition.  Every year the problems change, and the teams may select from a list of 5 problem choices.  Usually, each year there is a problem that involves the construction of moving cars, a problem that involves creating a balsa wood structure, and a problem that involves baking soda.  All of the problems require performance and style aspects unique to the individual problem.  The teams work from October thru March to develop their solutions to the given problem.  The solution involves an 8-minute-long term demonstration that must come in under the predetermined budget for the problem.  The solutions may involve creating structures with robotics, musical performance or basically anything to solve the problem.

In addition to the long-term problem, at competition, the teams are also asked to solve a spontaneous problem that can either be verbal, hands-on, or verbal and hands on. The teams must work cooperatively to solve the given problem, which might mean the creation of a story, answers to a challenging question, or construction of structures that perform a given task based on a limited number of objects.  The more creative the solution and answers, the better.

Odyssey of the Mind students in the Odyssey of the Mind Primary Group (K-2) did an awesome job at their competition held at Millersville University on Saturday, March 5th. Over the past few months, students worked hard creating solutions to try and solve a long-term problem. This year’s primary group challenge was to design and build a vehicle that could transport items. Students also needed to figure out 3 ways to power the vehicle. They worked very hard creating eye catching scenery that went along with the theme of their performance. All 2nd grade students in the primary group have an opportunity to move up to Division 1 next year! Odyssey of the Mind Primary Group Team members are Carter (2nd grade), Calder (2nd grade), Cora (2nd grade), Kinsley (2nd grade), Ava (2nd grade), and Kellan (Kindergarten). The Primary group was coached by David Fique.

Mrs. Charles’ OM group chose the long-term problem titled “Life is a Circus”. In that problem, they had to write and perform a humorous drama about a young person, played by Lennon, who at one point mid-drama is transported to a circus world where she encountered the ringmaster, played by Eliza, a clown, Addyson, a mysterious character who turns out to be the villain, played by Amelia. They also had to create two unique animals. One of their animals, played by Gretchen, was a three-headed creature who had the ability to make her head disappear and reappear somewhere else. The other animal, played by Katrina, was a colorful creature that was able to predict your future by lighting up different colors in answer to yes or no questions. Numerous other things had to take place during the drama as well. Teams are scored on the quality of the drama and its performance, style, and creativity. This team did a great job and came in 4th place.

Mrs. Reiner’s OM team also completed “Life is a Circus” and they placed 2nd place!  This team included 4th graders Garrison and Ella, 3rd graders Sophia, Kyan, and Brooklyn, and 5th grader Damon. Mrs. Leitzel’s OM group tackled “Escape VaRoom” and their team included 4th grader Waylon and 3rd graders Braxton, Madalyn, Emma, and Naomi.

Mrs. Reiner’s and Mrs. Leitzel’s Odyssey of the Mind teams represented Upper Dauphin Area School District at the State Level at Lock Haven university on April 2, 2022. Mrs. Reiner’s team placed 4th in their division! Great work to all the teams!