Wolftrap Odyssey of the Mind

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!

 

What is the time commitment?

Teams usually meet about once a week until around January.  As the March tournament date approaches, teams may choose to meet more frequently.

 

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 OM tournament registration costs about one hundred dollars per team to be divided among the members of the team.  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-$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.

 

How can I learn more about Odyssey of the Mind?

Please come to the Wolftrap Odyssey of the Mind parent information meeting in the Wolftrap Cafeteria on Wednesday, September 27 at 6:30pm.  In the meantime, feel free to visit www.odysseyofthemind.com or www.novanorth.org for additional information.

 

How do I sign up?

Register by logging into your PTA account.  Then click on the "My Account" tab on the left side.  At that point, you'll be requested to provide your child's name, child's grade, teacher name, your name, phone number, and availability for meetings.  Deadline to sign up is October 6, 2017.  Team assignments will be sent out within 2 weeks of the deadline.

 

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

 


Congratulations to the 2017 teams!

Seven Wolftrap teams participated in the Odyssey of the Mind Regional Tournament.  Three of our Wolftrap teams received recognition at the awards ceremony following the event.

 

Division I Catch Us If You Can (Vehicle) 3rd Place and  Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award
Division I Odd-A-Bot 2nd Place
Division I Ready, Set, Balsa, Build! 3rd Place