by Yustin Riopko
WAXHAW – Kensington Elementary and Cuthbertson Middle schools earned fourth and ninth place respectively at the 39th annual Odyssey of the Mind World Finals in Ames, Iowa.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving competition, sponsored by NASA, that presents fantastical prompts for students to solve. To fulfill the competition’s requirements, students use recycled materials to invent gadgets, develop sets and write skits to present before judges.
The hardest part: Teachers and parents can’t help.
The teams of seven created funny 8-minute performances that took place in totally made up intergalactic hangouts.
Specific rules guided the students’ invention processes. For example, the props had to include a homemade map, and the players had to include at least one “worker” character.
The set consisted of hundreds of compact discs, and one student’s costume was made completely out of candy wrappers.
On top of the planned team performances, students worked individually in “spontaneous problems.” For this part of the competition, students were separated from their teachers and asked to use limited resources in front of judges in a private room to complete tasks in unique ways.
Teams and organizing faculty presented and received congratulations at the June 12 Waxhaw commissioners meeting.
One Odyssey of the Mind team member from Cuthbertson believes these kinds of activities strengthen creative thinking.
“In a real-life scenario, you won’t be given perfect materials. You need to make do with what you have,” the student said. “[Odyssey of the Mind] teaches you those life skills to better understand how to do that.”
The tournament hosted 5,300 students from schools in 39 states and 28 different countries.