Two teams of students representing Green Acres School traveled to East Lansing, Michigan for the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals held May 20 - 23. Green Acres’ teams, from 3rd and 5th Grades, were among 800 teams from across the U.S. and 16 other countries who competed to solve problems presented by Odyssey of the Mind. These teams represented the best of the best from thousands of teams that competed at regional, state, and country levels before earning a place at the world competition. This is the fourth time that Green Acres has participated in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.
The 3rd Grade team placed 3rd in the “Silent Movie” problem, which challenged students to create and present a performance depicting a Director who produces and presents a silent movie featuring a humorous villain who commits three silly acts of “villainy.” According to Day Halsey, a Green Acres parent, teacher, and Odyssey of the Mind Coach, “The 3rd Grade team’s creativity and teamwork made their performance on this big stage particularly memorable, especially when you take into consideration that they were competing against teams as old as 5th Grade!”
In addition to the 3rd Grade’s team placement, they were recognized with a highly respected award for inventing an organ-type instruments engineered with PVC pipes and wooden keys. This recognition was limited to seven recipients this year, with Green Acres as the only school in the youngest division to be honored!
The team of Green Acres 5th Graders placed 5th overall in the problem titled “Runaway Train.” However, they placed 1st in the world in the long-term part of this competition – earning a perfect score. To solve this problem, students had to work together to design, build, and operate vehicles that travel on a team-created track. The vehicles had to be propelled by different types of energy and propulsion, and complete a variety of difficult tasks like jumping a gap, going uphill, and towing a flag. The 5th Grade team had the highest score in their division for the long term problem, which makes up the majority of the team scoring.
“This is an extremely tough global competition, and it’s very unusual for two teams from the same school to win top honors,” said Emily Greene, parent and Odyssey of the Mind Coach. “I believe that Green Acres’ inquiry-based learning develops a strong natural curiosity in these kids, and that Odyssey gives them a way to dive deep and explore together. This school fosters innovative thinking, hands-on exploration, and true teamwork necessary to be a strong Odyssey team.”
“Odyssey of the Mind has reinforced the skills of creativity, collaboration, and risk-taking that Green Acres School’s philosophy has valued for over 80 years,” said Neal Brown, Head of Green Acres School. “The fact that two teams from a small school placed so well in this competition speaks volumes about our students’ motivation to apply their learning to fun and challenging problems!”
About Odyssey of the Mind
Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members 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 international levels. To learn more about Odyssey of the mind, visit http://www.odysseyofthemind.com/