Saturday, March 21 at Madison College was a very exciting day for the elementary students involved with Odyssey of the Mind. They have been meeting since January, sharpening their divergent (thinking out of the box) skills.

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem solving competition where teams choose a long term problem, create a solution, and are given eight minutes to set up and present.

They are also given what is called a spontaneous problem that is presented to them with no specific preparation for it. Spontaneous problems often involve building bridges or towers out of odd combinations of materials (marshmallows, straws, toothpicks) that need to hold a weight, or verbal tasks such as naming alternative uses for a coffee filter. They are given the exercise and scoring criteria just a few minutes before attempting the task. Group dynamics, as well as results, are evaluated.

In spite of setbacks, this young team did extremely well. They placed 2nd out of 11 teams in their problem and division. If the first place team opts out of participation at Worlds, these Pointers would be the alternates.

Scoring combines long term, style, and spontaneous problem scores. The Pointer solution scored highest for the long term problem. The team placed 5th in style and spontaneous portions.

The group’s solution to the Silent Movie problem involved a poor scientist inventing a mute-ation virus which he feeds to a monkey on beans.

This year’s team consisted of Drew Hottenstein (5th grade), Hope Wilson (5th), Abel Logueflower (4th), Derek Hottenstein (3rd), and Ella Wilson (1st).

For a team of this size to succeed, members had to double up on parts and work very well as a team. Valuable ideas and the energy to make them work led to amazing results.

The team is coached by Carrie Wilson.