Odyssey of the Mind
OOTM is on hold for the 2020-21 School Year.
Odyssey of the Mind (OOTM) is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members work together over several months on projects 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.
Odyssey of the mind operates on the premise that creativity can be taught and that teamwork is an important skill for children to learn early. It's amazing to see these young minds think "outside of the box" to come up with imaginative solutions to their selected problem.
Over the past few years Seldens Landing has made a strong showing, sending dozens of teams to the regional competition, with a few making it to the state and even world levels. Last year, our 5th Graders came 2nd in the regional tournament.
Students in K-2 participate in the non-competitive Primary Division and other students participate in Division I. The regional competition is typically held in late February / early March followed by the state competition in April, and the World Finals in May.
Registration Begins - TBD
Registration Closes - TBD
For the school year, there is a team of a parent coordinator and teacher liaison supporting OOTM.
Benefits of OOTM
OOTM teaches students to learn creative problem-solving methods while having fun in the process. 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. OOTM 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.
Coaches & Volunteers Wanted
Each team needs a coach and an assistant coach. Parents, teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or college-age siblings can all become coaches! We cannot form teams without a coach. Did you say you haven't coached before? No worries! Training will be provided to help you get started. Your role is to be a facilitator to bring the ideas of the team together, to lead them to the solution and make sure the problem is understood and the solution complies with any specified requirements. An OOTM coach should not have the solution to the problem - your team needs you to keep them on track to help them come up with a solution.
In addition, the success of OOTM relies on the volunteer efforts of every parent of a team member. Parents support the coach by not helping the team members with their ideas. Parents can teach various skills and can be a coach for "Spontaneous" problems. You can also volunteer at the competitions and be a judge.
Teachers can help too by volunteering or being a judge for the competitions on behalf of a team. Judges' training will be provided. Teachers can receive 15 hours of credit towards re-certification points or Continuing Education Uits (CEUs) by volunteering to be a judge.
OOTM is a Hands-On program for children, but a Hands-Off program for Adults!
There is one thing that is guaranteed. You will be amazed at the creativity of your team and will be so proud of your team! The fun is in the participation.
Your OOTM experience can be as exciting as you want it to be! Younger kids start with 1-2 hours a week to start and them ramp it up to 2-3 hours by January. More serious teams put in 2-3 hours a week in the beginning and ramp it up to 4-6 hours a week in January until the regional competition in March. The team coach sets the meeting schedule, but most teams typically meet once a week. Team members will have assignments to work on outside of meeting time.