Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving program for students ranging in age from kindergarten through college. Students work on teams to solve problems creatively! Modeled on interscholastic sports, Odyssey of the Mind’s creative competitions combines the excitement of athletic competition with fun-filled often zany mental gymnastics. Teams match wits & abilities together to develop creative solutions to broadly defined problems. It allows students to work with others and provides them with the opportunity to learn creative problem solving, brainstorming, and teamwork. Students form teams of up to seven members to develop a solution to one of six Long Term Problems over several months. During this time, teams are also working on developing their skills for other aspects of the competition.
In the Long Term Problem portion of the competition, teams create a theatrical and engineered solution to one of the specific problems that they choose to solve over several months. Team members will develop an 8 minute performance that will involve costumes, props, and problem specific requirements that will demonstrate the solution they have created.
In the Spontaneous portion of the competition, teams will be given a problem on competition day they must solve. Typically, students have around 5 minutes from first hearing the problem to having to complete it. These problems challenge students to think on their feet and solve problems very quickly without any outside influence. Spontaneous problems are done in a closed area so that each team has the same amount of time to see and solve the problem. Spectators of any kind are not allowed to view this portion so that the competition aspect can remain fair and consistent.
Teams, problems, and competitions are organized into five different divisions by age group (Primary, I, II, III, IV). Division I is elementary aged competitors, Division II is middle school age students, Division III is high school age students, and Division IV is for college students.The primary division/problem is an exhibition only and is not judged competitively. These teams will only perform at regional competitions and is setup to be an introduction to the program for young students.