Wolftrap Odyssey of the Mind

New: Info Session Information Coming Soon!


What exactly is Odyssey of the Mind?

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem solving program that involves students from kindergarten through college.  Team members apply their critical thinking, team building and problem solving skills to produce an original performance or presentation in a variety of areas including: mechanical/vehicle, technical performance, classics, structure and performance. Teams create solutions to a complex problem by means of an 8-minute performance and tackle an unknown problem at the tournaments.  Tournaments take place on the local, state, and world levels.


What can my child gain from Odyssey of the Mind?

  • Practice creative thinking and risk-taking.
  • Learn new skills and practice others.
  • Develop confidence in their abilities.
  • Work as a part of a team.
  • Do ALL of the work themselves, without assistance of those outside the team (including parents).
  • Have lots of fun, make new friends, and learn at the same time!

How can I learn more about Odyssey of the Mind?

There will be a parent interest meeting in the library on a date to come. 


What is the time commitment?

Each team will decide on its meeting times and frequency.  Most team meet for 2 to 3 hours per week beginning in October.  In the weeks leading up to the regional tournament, teams often choose to increase meeting length and frequency. 


All OM team members must be available to participate in regional NOVA North tournament at Oakton HS.


What constitutes an OM team?

Teams consist of five to seven students of approximately the same age and one or more volunteer coaches (we cannot do it without you!).  In elementary school, teams are organized by divisions.  The primary division consists of team members in grades K-2.  This division is not scored and is a great way to introduce team members to the fun world of OM in a non-competitive environment.  Division 1 consists of team members in grades 3-5 and Division 2 includes team members in grades 6-8. 


When and where are meetings held?

The team and their families decide together on an ideal time and location to meet.  This is often done in  accordance with the coaches' schedules, so if you have a preferred time to meet, it is more incentive to be a coach!  It is most convenient to meet at a coach or team member's home, where supplies are readily available and can be stored.  Alternatively, meeting space can be reserved at the school, but there is no storage space available.


Can I withdraw my child at any time?

Once the team is formed and members begin working on their solution, they are required to be listed on the tournament registration.  Therefore, we recommend that team members and their families complete a Team Contract before they begin discussing any part of the problem.  This ensures that everyone involved understands the rules and expectations involved with the program.   If a child chooses to withdraw from the program, they will still be listed on the tournament registration, and cannot be replaced.


What are the costs involved?

The Wolftrap PTA covers most costs associated with the OM tournament registration.  Expenses for materials will vary greatly but OM problems have a very reasonable upper limit to what can be spent.  Most teams use recyclables, donations and second hand props and costumes, keeping the costs minimal.  Coaches will decide on an amount to collect at the beginning of the season, usually $50 to $75 per team member.  The coach or a volunteer parent can keep track of expenses in the event that additional funds or a refund is necessary at the end of the season.


Who coaches the team?

Generally, one or all of the parents are the volunteer coaches. One or two parents can lead the effort for the long-term problem, another can coach the spontaneous practices, another can handle any paperwork, etc. Don’t be afraid to jump in – there is an immense amount of coaching material available on the local website novanorth.org and the national Odyssey website.  There, you can find sections that describe the responsibilities of team members, parents, coaches, provide schedule updates, etc.


Do I have what it takes to be a coach?

Being a coach may sound intimidating, but it is pretty easy, and very rewarding.  One of the great things about Odyssey of the Mind is that that team is NOT ALLOWED to get help from anyone outside the team, including coaches.  As a coach, you will be there to provide the team with a safe environment and give them a means to learn new skills and work together within the necessary time limits while having fun doing it.


Feel free to visit www.odysseyofthemind.com or www.novanorth.org for additional information.  


Still have questions?  Please drop us an email at odysseyofthemind@wolftrappta.org