THE CROSSROADS OF CREATIVITY!
ODYSSEY OF THE MIND (OM)
Since 1978, Odyssey of the Mind (OM) has challenged students (K-12 + university) with creative problem solving opportunities designed to teach them divergent thinking skills, teamwork, ideation, self-confidence, and so much more! OM has been teaching STE(A)M via hands-on problem solving long before STE(A)M was an acronym! Students, teachers, and families in over 30 nations currently participate in Odyssey of the Mind, and each year the program culminates in its international World Finals competition, a celebration of creativity with over 15,000 participants! OM is often cited as being the program that alters the life and career paths for its participants in meaningful ways. From NASA scientists to Hollywood filmmakers, international policymakers to Broadway stars, Odyssey of the Mind helps students find their passion, embrace it, and change the world for the better.
The Program: OM consists of three elements - 1) Long-Term Problem, 2) Style, and 3) Spontaneous - described below. Each year, new program materials are released to coincide with the academic year. Teams select a problem to solve, practice their solution, and then compete at local regional and state competitions against other teams their age. Winning teams qualify to represent their association at the international World Finals in late May!
Each year, thousands of teams around the world spend weeks to months "solving" one of five Long-Term Problems: vehicular, technical, classical, structural, or theatrical. A new set of five problems is released each school year. Teams use their creativity to address the specific requirements and limitations of their selected problem while also creating an 8-minute skit to accompany their solution. From building cars to writing musicals, constructing a balsa wood structure to coding a robot, teams are challenged to solve
all sorts of fun, creative problems!
Beyond what is required in the Long-
Term Problem, teams are allowed to add their own, unique "twist" in their solution, which is what we refer to as "Style." Style includes any prop, song, costume, backdrop, technical device, or [fill in the blank] the team wants to create but that is not asked for in the Long-Term Problem requirements. The goal for a team is to develop a theme, an angle, or an approach that is built and reinforced by these extra elements to create an "Overall Effect." We may not know every Picasso painting, but we know his style and could likely identify a painting of his with which we are unfamiliar. Style works the same way in OM!
In addition to Long-Term and Style, which the teams can spend months working on, the third element of OM is Spontaneous. The day of competition, teams will enter a room and be asked to solve a problem. That problem could be verbal - e.g., "Name as many green things as you can?" (grass,
envy, a seasick sailor) - or it could be hands-on - "Using these random items, work as a team to build a bridge that can hold weight." Spontaneous teaches teams how to think quickly, as life is but a collection of surprises! Together with Long-Term and Style, Spontaneous rounds out the creative-problem solving experience with improvisation!
HOW TO JOIN
Joining OM is easy! You can join as a school, as a community group, or as a homeschool group. The price to join has not changed in over 20 years (!), as our goal is to make creative problem solving as accessible to as many students as possible! Our simple step-by-step "How to Join" plan below will help guide you:
Visit www.odysseyofthemind.com (OMHQ) to purchase a membership.
Create as many teams of up to 7 students as possible! Each team can choose one problem to solve!
Solve the problem! Register to compete at a local competition. Note: Indiana teams can compete in Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan!
Indiana Association information
For any questions about joining Indiana OM, please contact us using the webform below. Be sure to include your city and school information, as that will help us get you started!
Creative Competitions, Inc.
406 Ganttown Rd
Sewell, NJ 08080
What it means to "Join OM"
Acquiring a membership does not obligate you to participate in a competition. Similarly, there are not existing teams to "join." When you join OM, you, your school, or your community organization creates a team (or teams) that have the chance to compete in the program. It's a life-changing opportunity!