Odyssey of the Mind


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 If you are new to OM, please read this page in its entirety.  Registration for the 2017-2018 Season is now closed.

What is Odyssey of the Mind?

Welcome to the only place where you get to build a vehicle that rolls over at command and drive it to a land where people walk on their hands to recover a priceless piece of art and return via email before being crushed under a whopping 1200 lbs to win the tournament!  Calling all engineers, writers, actors, scientists, problem solvers, project managers, artists, and creative thinkers! In Odyssey of the Mind, students work together in teams from October-March to:

  • Develop a solution to a complex problem by means of an 8-minute skit.
  • Practice creative thinking and risk-taking.
  • Learn new skills and practice others.
  • Develop confidence in their abilities.
  • Work as a part of a team.
  • Do it ALL themselves.
  • Have lots of fun, make new friends, and learn at the same time!
  • Present their skits and tackle an unknown problem at the Regional Tournament.

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. More…

Information for Parents

  • When does OM start?
    Typically children sign up by a deadline in September and then the coordinator takes roughly a week to group children into teams. Teams are grouped by age Divisions as specified in the OM rules. Teams will usually start meeting in October.
  • What constitutes an OM team? 
    Teams consist of five to seven students of approximately the same age and one or more volunteer coaches (we cannot do it without you!).
  • When does each OOM meet during the week?
    The day and time are decided amongst the parents of the team. So, there is no established day or time prior to the formation of the team.
  • How often does the team meet and for how long?
    Typically just once a week for 1 to 2 hours until January. Again, the team parents determine this. January and February are when the items for the performance will need to be built and rehearsals begin so those meetings will tend to be 2-4 hours on a day determined by the parents. As the March tournament date approaches, teams might choose to meet more often.
  • Where does OM meet?
    There are two options. The first is that the parents may fill out a form thru the county to ask for a meeting time and place at the school.   See the front office for help on this. HOWEVER, the school has no space for storage of materials. Construction, which can involve paint or messy glue, may not be allowed. Check with the county. The second and most common option is to just volunteer one or two of the teammate’s house/basement/garage for use.
  • Who coaches the team?
    Generally, one or all of the parents are the volunteer coaches. One or two parents can lead the effort for the long-term problem, another can coach the spontaneous practices, another can handle any paperwork, etc. Don’t be afraid to jump in – there is an immense amount of coaching material available on the local website novanorth.org and the national Odyssey website.  There, you can find sections that describe the responsibilities of team members, parents, coaches, provide schedule updates, etc.
  • Can I withdraw my child at any time?
    This disrupts the teamwork that has already been done so it would be preferable that the child is not withdrawn after the teams are established in October unless it’s completely unavoidable. Children cannot typically be transferred to another team since there are rules regarding this once the long-term problem has been discussed. The team size is 5-7 children, a minimum of 5 is recommended to compete.
  • What are the costs involved?
    The HWPTA charges a $25 registration fee.  This fee is non-refundable unless we are not able to place your child on a team or the team dissolves.  The OM tournament costs about one hundred dollars per team to be divided among the members of the team.  Expenses for materials vary greatly but OM problems have a very reasonable upper limit to what can be spent.  Most teams use recyclables, donations and second-hand props and costumes, keeping the costs minimal.

More questions? Contact our volunteer coordinator at odyssey@hwpta.org