The Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state, and World level. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and from about 25 other countries participate in the program. “
For the Benchmark team, it’s a group of third and fourth graders who wanted to extend their club experience by prepping for and going to the competition. (All of the kids were in the Odyssey of the Mind Club for an hour after school everyday, and seven kids decided to join the competitive team and stay after school even later, and work on their stuff at home too. Christine Gerland and Meggin Kirk are the coaches that volunteer their time.
Q. What does the Odyssey Team mean to you? What is the Odyssey Team?
A. The Odyssey Team is a competitive but fun club that competes against other schools by completing a challenge. The Odyssey Team means a lot of different things to me. Like, sometimes it can be a little challenging working as a team but it gives you a chance to work with other schoolmates too. I get to work with my friend Bre–her mom is a coach of the Odyssey Team and she can be really fun, especially since we’re the only girls!
Q. What types of challenges are given to you and your team?
A. In Odyssey Club some of the challenges are to build a marble run (which we call the “Z track”) and right now we’re making a maze for a marble that you have to hold physically and move it around.
Q. Tell us about your teams upcoming regional competition in March?
A. It’s on Saturday, March 12 and we will perform our challenge in front of judges and audience members.
Q. What challenge will you be competing in the regionals?
A. The challenge we will be completing is acting out our version of one of Aesop’s fables. In our challenge, the moral of the story has to “go viral” in many different ways. The ways that the moral has to go viral is in a visual way, a hearing way and “using a forgotten form of communication”. The setting also has to be before the 1800’s. We even have to use a sock in our act!
The moral of the fable we chose is, “Don’t trust a friend that leaves you in a pinch”. We chose the Middle Ages as our time period. We split our team into groups and each group had to write a script. We painted our backgrounds, and used PVC pipes to build the frames. We also came up with our own costumes and props and right now we’re rehearsing our parts. The hardest part is that we have to do everything on our own…Adults aren’t really allowed to help us. One of my teacher’s sister got knocked down points all because someone’s parent helped safety pin someone’s costume!
So far, we’ve come up with some great ideas for our challenge. One idea is when we created a bird out of a sock and it “tweeted” the fable’s moral. Another idea is the dragon wings one of my teammates made out of cardboard and string. They fit another boy perfectly!
Q. What has been your favorite challenge with your team thus far?
A. My favorite challenge was probably when we had to build a chair for a stuffed Beanie Boo donkey, Eeyore. The only supplies we could use were paper and tape. We had about 15 minutes to work alone to build a chair that could hold Eeyore’s weight. All of us completed the challenge!
Q. Do you have any exciting plans for the summer?
A. My mom, my dad and my little sister, Emmi, and I are going on a road trip through California, Oregon and Washington. My parents are teachers so every summer we go on a big trip. We camp, hike, backpack and visit family. My grandmas and grandpas live in California and most of my other families including nine cousins live in the Northwest. This summer I’m doing a horse camp at a ranch in California too! I will also be in an acting camp and maybe an art camp!
Q. When you are not participating in The Odyssey Team, what do you like to do for fun?
A. I like to play softball, soccer, basketball, acting, singing, dancing, skating and roller blading. I also LOVE to read as well. My favorite books at the moment are The Land of Stories series and The School for Good and Evil series. When I want to work at PetCo, be a librarian and be someone important like a movie star.
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