(Wellsville, New York) – On Saturday, March 15, 2014, 45 teams from across the Southern Tier will be showcasing their creativity during the Odyssey of the Mind Regional competition. Odyssey of the Mind is a world-wide creative problem-solving tournament that promotes original and divergent thinking as a team sport. Divergent problems, that is, those with more than one solution, encourage students to learn and lead the way using 21st century skills. By working in teams of up to seven members, participants learn teamwork, the appreciation and understanding of others, and the concept that a group is a more powerful thinking force than an individual.
Wellsville Central School will be hosting more than 300 creative kids aged ten through eighteen years old, who will be showing off their brain power in this high-energy tournament. The winners, who will be announced at the end of the day, will represent Region 19 at the New York State Tournament at Binghamton University on April 12 and possibly World Finals at Iowa State University on May 28-31.
Teams from 11 area school districts have worked hard to come up with solutions to one of these five mind-bending problems posed by Odyssey of the Mind:
Problem 1: Driver's Test
Teams will design, build, and drive a vehicle that will travel a course where a student driver attempts to complete tasks in order to pass a driver’s test. The vehicle will travel using one propulsion system and then travel in reverse using a different propulsion system. The vehicle will encounter a directional signal and have a Global Positioning System (GPS) that talks to the driver. The team will create a theme for the presentation that incorporates the vehicle, a driver’s test, a student, and the talking GPS.
Problem 2: The Not-So-Haunted House
The team's problem is to create and present an original performance that includes a "pop-up-style" not-so-haunted "house" where four special effects take place. The intent of the special effects will be to scare others, but they will produce a different result instead. The performance will include at least one character that experiences the special effects and a narrator who relays the experiences to the audience. It will also include a surprise ending. The special effects will be scored for originality and engineering.
Problem 3: It’s How We Rule
In this Classics problem, teams will recreate a King's Court from history and make their own Royal Court set in an original kingdom at a different time and place. The Historic Court will issue a decree that fits in with its history, while the team-created Royal Court will issue a decree that changes an everyday behavior for the people in the kingdom. The Historic court will be composed as the team wishes, but the original Royal Court will be made up of a leader, a minstrel that performs a song while playing a team-created instrument, and a jester that makes fun of the leader. The performance will include puppets and a Peoplet (a person portrayed as a puppet), and will be scored for humor.
Problem 4: The Stackable Structure
Teams will design and build a structure made up of separate components stacked on top of one another. The structure components will be made of only balsa wood and glue, and will be tested by balancing and supporting weights after they are stacked. Teams will be scored for the number of components they use in their final structure. Before they are stacked, the separate components will be integrated into an artistic representation of Earth. The team will include the stacking of the components, placement of the weights, and Earth into the theme of its performance. Sponsored by NASA
Problem 5: Seeing is Believing
Teams are to create and present an original performance about a community that feels threatened by something in a location it has never visited. The community townspeople will use a creative method to select one or more Travelers to visit and explore the location. While at the location, a Traveler will use a means of communication to send a message home to convince the community that there is nothing to fear. The performance will also include a narrator character, two rhymes about the travels, and a moving set piece.
Students have spent months of their free time solving these problems as well as developing teamwork skills, independent study, friendships, confidence, all while improving their brainstorming and problem-solving techniques. They learn new things and utilize their individual strengths to solve the problem. Teams also learn how to budget money since there is a cost limit to each problem. Throughout the day, one will witness imaginative costumes, elaborate props, dances, original songs and poetry, creative writing and much more.
Not only do the participants compete within their chosen problem, but teams must also perform well in a “spontaneous problem”, where they solve a new problem on the spot. They must be creative, quick thinking and work well together as a team.
Spectators are welcome to join in the excitement of the day. CABOCES is still recruiting volunteers. No prior experience is needed and training will be provided. Anyone interested in getting involved is encouraged to call (716) 376-8284.
Saturday, March 15 is the culmination of many months of work from students, coaches, parents and judges who all work together with the common goal of expressing creativity, supporting the arts and learning new things in a fun environment. The tournament starts at 8:30 and continues throughout the day. The Awards Ceremony begins around 3:15.
Thousands of teams from throughout the United States and 25 other countries participate in this program. For more information visit www.odysseyofthemind.com, www.nysoma.org or www.caboces.org or call CABOCES Student Programs at 716-376-8284.