Over 20,000 students and supporters from around the world have traveled to Iowa for the 33rd annual Odyssey of the Mind World Finals competition from May 23-26 at the Iowa State University. Students from different cultures and widely varying economic backgrounds will prove that creativity is universal. They will all demonstrate their unique 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 throughout the United States and in more than 12 other countries including Japan, China, Poland, Germany, Indonesia, Singapore, and Mexico.
They will come with interesting costumes, original sets, and innovative inventions — all part of solving an Odyssey problem. This year’s choice of problems include:
- Ooh-Motional Vehicle: Teams have designed and built ride-on vehicles that actually change to show different human emotions while traveling a course.
- Weird Science: Sponsored by NASA – Teams devised new reasons behind the many mysteries we experience on Earth. For example, melting arctic sea ice. They showcase their “new” explanations in a performance – along with a technical representation of the mystery they’ve chosen from images taken by NASA satellites.
- Classics. . . To Be or Not to Be: Teams reinvented a classic Shakespeare character in a performance that ponders this infamous question – with a twist. Teams will ask “To ___ or not to ___.” Of course, they filled in the blanks with anything they could dream up.
- Unhinged Structure: Eighteen grams of balsa wood and glue are designed into structures that have been known to hold thousands of pounds. This year the structure will hold weight while teams show off a device that demonstrates a math function.
- Odyssey Angels: Teams think up creative way to help communities in a performance that portrays unique places, students with special powers and – of course – a happy ending!
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.
Although this is a competition to be 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.
The competition will conclude with an Awards Ceremony, where ISU’s Hilton Coliseum will be filled with people excited to see the World Champions of Creativity announced.
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.
For a schedule of events and more information please click here.
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