Odyssey of the Mind

The students at First Christian Academy are invited each year to join Odyssey of the Mind teams. Each year teams are formed depending on student interest and available parent volunteers to serve as coaches. Below is some information from the Odyssey of the Mind website(www.odysseyofthemind.com) that describes this unique and fun competition.

Why Odyssey of the Mind is Good for Kids

The Odyssey of the Mind 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. The Odyssey of the Mind teaches students how to think divergently by providing open-ended problems that appeal to a wide range of interests. Students learn how to identify challenges and to think creatively to solve those problems. They are free to express their ideas and suggestions without fear of criticism. The creative problem-solving process rewards thinking “outside of the box.” While conventional thinking has an important place in a well-rounded education, students need to learn how to think creatively and productively.

In the Odyssey of the Mind . . .

  • Students develop team-building skills by working in groups of as many as seven students per team.
  • Students learn to examine problems and to identify the real challenge without limiting the possible solutions and their potential success.
  • The creative-thinking process is nurtured and developed as a problem-solving tool.
  • Students of all types will find something that will appeal to them.
  • The fun of participation leads to an elevated interest in regular classroom curricula.
  • Teachers have a program to further provide students with a well-rounded education.

Who Participates?

Millions of students from kindergarten through college have participated in the Odyssey of the Mind. Since the Odyssey of the Mind eliminates the fear of criticism, even shy students are afforded the opportunity to open up and express themselves. Students learn to work in teams. Each year, five new competitive problems are presented for the teams to solve. These long-term problems are solved over weeks and months. Some of the problems are more technical in nature, while others are artistic or performance based. Each long-term problem rewards “Style” in the solution. This helps teach students that they should not simply try to solve problems but take the next step of enhancing their solutions. The teams are invited to participate in competition and present their solution with other teams. At the competition, the teams are given an on-the-spot “spontaneous” problem to solve. The combination of long-term problem-solving, Style, and spontaneous problem-solving produces a confident, able student.

Age Divisions

Teams are formed by division and compete against teams in the same division and problem. Grade level determines the division for teams in the U.S. and in countries with an educational structure that corresponds to the U.S. Except for Division IV, teams from countries with a different grade system ( “Other International” ) will have their division determined by the ages of the team members. In competition, each school membership may enter one team per problem for each division it covers. Community groups and home-schooled members may enter one team per problem.

The team must compete in the lowest division for which it qualifies. For example, if a team qualifies for Division II it cannot compete in Division III. The team member in the highest grade (U.S.) or the oldest (Other International) determines the team’s division as follows:

  • Division I — Grades K-5 (U.S.): Less than 12 years of age on May 1, 2016 (Other International).
  • Division II — Grades 6-8 (U.S.): Less than 15 years of age on May 1, 2016 (Other International).
  • Division III — Grades 9-12 (U.S.): Oldest team member does not qualify for Divisions I or II and is attending regular school–not a college or university or anything similar (Other International).
  • Division IV — Collegiate for ALL TEAMS. All team members must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and be enrolled in at least one course at a two- or four-year college or university.