Odyssey of the Mind
Odyssey of the Mind (OM) 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.
What do students learn in Odyssey?Students who participate in Odyssey of the Mind learn many life-long skills including:
- Importance of teamwork
- Every teams’ response is unique but each is equally correct
- To appreciate what other people bring to the team – that different people with different skill sets are equally critical to the team’s success
- The value of applying skills across disciplines (artistic, musical, technical)
- Value of risk-taking and that failure doesn’t mean the end of the road
- Strong sense of self-confidence and to trust in his/her own abilities
- To be self-motivated and self-directed
- Interpersonal communication skills
Who can participate?
- Odyssey teams are geared toward gifted students of all abilities -- not just those who are academically gifted. Odyssey problems allow for expression of a student's strengths and abilities whatever they may be. Artistic, verbal, musical, spatial -- there's a place for all types of creativity in Odyssey!
- The program is open to students in grades K-12. Students can also compete in college!
- Students are grouped into teams of no more than 7 members each; the small size encourages participation from all members
- Each team MUST have one adult coach; having an assistant or co-coach is encouraged.
- Each school may field as many teams as there are students who want to participate AND coaches who are willing to lead teams.
Who are the coaches and what do they do?
- Any adult in the community may coach a team, but the coach is generally the parent(s) of a team member
- Coaches must attend regional training, prepare and run meetings, and attend regional competition with the team
- Coaches help the team learn to work together effectively and are facilitators for teams as they solve their problems.
- Coaches may not help the team solve the problem. Odyssey solutions must come from the minds and hands of the team members themselves, not from any outside assistance.
What does it take to be a good coach? Odyssey coaches do not have to be "creative." Instead coaches should have:
- Organizational skills
- Time to let the team work
- Ability to "bite your tongue" and let team members solve the problem entirely on their own
Why coach?It's the only way to guarantee there is a team for your child
- Coaches set the meeting time and place, so by coaching you guarantee that the meetings fit your schedule.
- It's amazing to watch kids come together and see what they can come up with on their own.
- Your child will thank you for it (maybe not now, but certainly later!)
How much does Odyssey of the Mind cost?
- Participation in Odyssey is not very expensive. School membership fees ($135) are often covered by the PTA or the principal’s discretionary funds. Other expenses, such as coaches’ training ($31) and tournament registration ($62) may be divided among team members.
- Coaches may ask for donations of supplies (often recycled products, but sometimes craft items like paint, glue, etc) and/or snack items for the team meetings. These donations are team-dependent and should not be excessive.
- If a team qualifies for competition at the World Finals in May, the team will conduct fundraising drives. It has been our experience locally that teams attending World Finals have most of their costs covered.
How are teams created?
- A list of interested students and coaches will be generated via emails after information nights.
- Once coaches are committed, they will set their meeting days and times, and pick the specific problem their team wants to compete.
- Information about teams, coaches, meeting times and days and days will then be emailed to prospective team members.
- From there, the school coordinator and coaches will work together to find the best balance of student team members to fill the team rosters. Consideration will be given to whether students have participated in Odyssey of the Mind before, grade level, gender, and problem interest. It is a fluid process with the goal of being able to place all students who are interested on a team.
Get Involved and Learn More About Odyssey of the Mind!