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Odyssey of the Mind

What Is It?

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Students apply their creativity to solve problems 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.

Little River Participants?

  • Kindergarten through 2nd grade students participate in the Primary Division
  • 3rd through 5th grade students participate in Division I
  • Parents are encouraged to participate in your child’s growth in learning how to identify challenges and solving problems through creative thinking.  Coaches and tournament volunteers are always welcome and needed.


What Makes Odyssey Different?
Odyssey of the Mind is a competitive program, but it's nothing like your typical sporting event. The competitive element encourages students to be the best that they can be, but it's a friendly competition. Students learn from and even cheer on their competitors. Odyssey of the Mind is not a competition about knowledge. It's all about creativity, an often overlooked element in the growth and development of many students. Participants are rewarded more for how they apply their knowledge, skills and talents, and not for coming up with the right answer. In fact, in Odyssey of the Mind problems, there isn't one right answer.

How do Students Benefit from Participation?
In Odyssey of the Mind, students learn at a young age skills that will last a lifetime. They work in teams so they learn cooperation and respect for the ideas of others. They evaluate ideas and make decisions on their own, gaining greater self-confidence and increased self-esteem along the way. They work within a budget, so they learn to manage their money. They see that there’s often more than one way to solve a problem, and that sometimes the process is more important than the end result.
How does it Work?
Schools form teams of up to seven students. Kindergarten through 2nd grade participate in the primary competitive problem. Each team chooses one of five competitive problems to solve. The problems appeal to a wide range of interests; some are technical in nature, while others are artistic or performance-oriented. Under the guidance of an adult coach, teams work on their solutions throughout the school year and present them in organized competitions in the spring. The "friendly" competitive aspect encourages students to be the best that they can be.
How are the Teams Judged in Competition?
Volunteers judge the competitions and serve in various positions to help make the tournaments a success. Teams are scored for their long-term problem solution, how sell they solve a "spontaneous" problem on the spot, and "style" -- the elaboration of their long-term problem solution.
Who Runs Odyssey of the Mind?
Not-for-profit organizations administer the Odyssey of the Mind program in each participating state and country. Each organization is run by a local Association Director. The organizations are licensed by Creative Competitions, Inc. (CCI), which provides all the problems and materials necessary to run training sessions and tournaments.
How did Odyssey of the Mind Get its Start?
Odyssey of the Mind was created by Dr. C. Samuel Micklus, Professor Emeritus at Rowan University in New Jersey. In 1978, 28 New Jersey schools participated in the very first creative problem-solving competition ever. "Dr. Sam" still develops all problems for the program, along with his son, Sammy, President of CCI.
If you have any questions about this event or would like to volunteer as a coach, please contact:  Viji Sundaram, Program Chairperson at:  Please click here to view the 2014 Odyssey of the Mind Flyer.  The deadline for registration is October 31, 2014.   
For more information about the program, please go to:
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Last Modified on November 16, 2014