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Tough problem to solve? No problem, with Odyssey of the Mind

Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Ines Barros, Southampton

Odyssey of the Mind (OM) is a group of students who come together every Wednesday and write a script about a problem and a solution.

They go places to show off their eight-minute play and are scored on it. They can win and lose, but if they win all of them they go the finals and go against the other undefeated team. It is international program where you show off your creativity in solving problems presented to your team.

C. Samuel Micklus and Theodore Gourley founded OM in 1978 at Glassboro State College (now Rowan College of New Jersey). The first competition was called Olympics of the Mind.

I talked to the head of Westhampton Beach Elementary School’s Odyssey of the Mind program, Mrs. Lynn Marshall.

Why do you think OM is good for us kids? “OM promotes thinking out of the box. It also enhances problem-solving skills.”

Why is fifth grade a good time for kids to join OM? “Children are more independent at that age.”

Why do you think you are the person running OM in our school? “I was trained in MSTE, which is a problem-solving method using math, science and technology. I also love to solve problems and be creative. During this training we were presented many problems to solve, and I really enjoyed it.”

Why do you think the people you picked will make a good team? “I feel that we have a great team and that everyone is a team player. Everyone has something to contribute.”

Does it make a difference that only girls signed up for this team, instead of a mix of boys and girls? “The gender does not really matter to me.”

Do you think we will make it to the finals? “I believe in my team so, yes, I think we will make it to the finals.”

Where will our competitions be held? “Our first competition will be at Nassau County.”

Wish us luck on our amazing adventure! If your school wants to get involved, check out the website, odysseyofthemind.com.

Jennifer Kulesa-Kast’s fifth-grade class, Westhampton Beach Elementary School

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