Odyssey of the Mind is a program for students that encourages creative thinking, team work and problem solving skills in a fun and friendly way.
Teams of 5-7 students get half a year to solve a problem and then present their solution at a tournament. At the tournament they are judged on their solution, the style of their presentation, and on how well they solve a problem presented to them on that day.
There is no one right answer, judges provide teams with feedback and reward them for creativity, quick thinking, and style in their solutions, ultimately deciding on who will represent BC at the World Finals.
Teams usually work to solve their problems both inside and outside the regular classroom with a teacher or parent acting as the team's coach.
What do kids do in Odyssey?
Team members solve a "Long Term" problem, which they create, produce, practice and then present at competition in the spring. The problem might be to design a vehicle, produce a play or build a balsa wood structure - problems are different each year. In addition to this long term problem, the team is also presented at the competition with a "Spontaneous" problem, which they must solve or respond to in a short period of time.
When do they do it?
Participation takes place both inside and outside the regular classroom - competition and presentations take place in the spring. There are as many ways for schools to do Odyssey as there are schools!
Why is Odyssey of the Mind good for kids?
It teaches students to learn creative problem-solving methods while having fun in the process. By tapping into creativity, and through encouraging imaginative paths to problem solving, students learn skills that will provide them with the ability to solve problems -- great and small -- for a lifetime. Odyssey of the Mind teaches students how to think divergently by providing open-ended problems that appeal to a wide range of interests. Students learn how to identify challenges and to think creatively to solve those problems. The creative problem-solving process rewards thinking "outside of the box." While conventional thinking has an important place in a well-rounded education, students need to learn how to think creatively and productively.
How can I learn more?
Watch the video "Creative Experience" more »
Who runs Odyssey of the Mind?
At the International Level: Creative Competitions, Inc. (CCI) is a private company owned by the founder of Odyssey, Dr. Sam Micklus and his family. The headquarters of this company is in New Jersey, where Odyssey began in 1978. It is at this level that the Odyssey problems are created and distributed to schools. CCI also organizes the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals Competition.
In Canada: In British Columbia, Odyssey of the Mind is sponsored by the non-profit organization, Creative Problem Solving Society (CPSS). CPSS is a non-profit society and federally registered charity. Together with another non-profit group in Ontario, Ontario Creative Problem Solvers (OCPS), they hold the license for organizing the Odyssey of the Mind in Canada. The two groups are working together to build up Odyssey memberships across the country. CPSS and OCPS purchase the yearly problems from Creative Competitions Inc. CCI, in turn, organizes the World Finals where teams from Canada are eligible to compete.
In the Schools: At the school level, teams are generally coached by parents and/or teachers who meet with the students on a weekly basis. This varies from school to school - some use Odyssey of the Mind as part of their curriculum and for others it is an extracurricular program. In some cases, the principal purchases a membership, in other cases the PAC will pay for a membership for the school. This membership entitles the school to enter teams into competition.