The Madison Simis Elementary/Madison Heights Elementary fourth-grade Odyssey of the Mind team earned a ranking of 13th in the 38th Annual World Finals, competing against 71 teams in their division. Two additional Madison Schools teams – a 5th Grade Team and a combined 7th/8th Grade Team from Madison Meadows Middle School also finished 20th and 22nd respectively, in the world in their division.
The competition, held at Michigan State University in May, is a creative team problem-solving competition for kids in kindergarten through college. World Finals brings together over 850 teams from approximately 25 countries.
“The Madison 4th Grade team comprised of both Madison Simis and Madison Heights fourth graders turned in excellent performances and represented our schools extremely well,” said Madison Simis Elementary Principal Joyce Flowers. “We are proud of the creative problem-solving skills they displayed and the teamwork approach exhibited by all the students.”
Teams of no more than seven members compete in four different age groups in one of five “long-term problems”. In the long-term problem, teams create an 8-minute play that addresses the problem requirements. Team members write the script, design the costumes, and build the props. All aspects of the play must be the team’s original work.
“Their accomplishments on the world stage are a reflection of the hard work they and their teachers put in every day,” added Madison Heights Elementary Principal Priscilla Gossett. “We’re so proud of their success, but even more importantly, grateful for how this competition prepares them for ongoing achievement in academics and life. They truly are the future leaders of our community.”
The Madison 4th Grade Team competed in the Division I competition (2nd grade – 5th grade), “To Be Continued: A Superhero Cliffhanger,” in which students were asked to create and present a humorous performance about an unlikely superhero and a clumsy sidekick. Madison students set the play during the Renaissance with Michele, Michelangelo’s daughter, aided by her statue/sidekick, David. The story was narrated by playwright Billy Shakespeare.
Teams work all year on their play, but also compete in a “spontaneous” competition where they are given less than 10 minutes to work as a team to solve a problem on the spot. These spontaneous problems may be verbal, hands-on, or a combination of both.
An enriching aspect of the competition is the opportunity to interact with students from other states and countries. Each state creates Odyssey pins that team members trade with students from other states and countries.
“If you asked the team members what their favorite part of World Finals was, I think all of them would say pin trading,” said Madison team coach Julie Morrison.
Morrison also noted that this was the last competition for these team members who have been together for four years, as they will be moving on to middle school.
“What will remain with them are their friendships, memories, and their tremendous growth in confidence, public speaking, team work, and creativity,” Morrison said. “Odyssey of The Mind is a fantastic program.”
Learn more about Madison Elementary School District schools at www.madisonaz.org/.