Odyssey of the Mind

Imagine, if you will, a creative competition that allows students to express themselves artistically, physically, emotionally, spiritually – basically, this expression is in alignment with Rainbow’s Seven domains of child development.

Now imagine the pressure of performing for judges, parents and against other schools.

Add to it elements of the creative problem students tackled that students had to include, or otherwise they’d lose points.

Coaches were allowed to advise and guide the teams, but the students had to do all the work. In fact, they had to sign a contract saying that they would not accept outside help as they worked through their projects.

This year at Rainbow, there was so much interest in Odyssey of the Mind or OOTM!

Creative Problem Solving

We started out with four teams in grades 6-8 – they were considered Division II. When it came time to go to competition, we ultimately had two teams that headed to Enka High School to compete against area schools.

There are two parts to the competition. There is the “spontaneous” problem where students get a question and have to answer creatively. The more creative they can be, the more points they can get. Students do not know what question they will get, so they will usually practice a variety of problems beforehand to get used to coming up with answers “on the fly.”

Then, there’s the “long-term” problem. Earlier in the school year, students will choose one of five problems put out by the OOTM folks. They spend every practice session working together to come up with a solution to the problem, working within the limits and parameters that the problem encompasses.

One team did “Pandora’s Box” and one team did “Silent Movie.” Each had an eight-minute time limit.

From the OOTM website, here are the problem synopses:

Pandora’s Box:

In this classics problem, teams will put a video game spin on the story of Pandora’s Box. A gamer character will take on this multi-level game inspired by the Greek myth. The game will include a prologue that depicts the original story of Pandora’s Box, three characters representing different evils that escaped the box, and a power meter that represents the gamer character’s health. To beat the game, the player will advance to the final level where it will release hope into the world.

Silent Movie:

Lights, camera…action! In this problem teams will create and present a performance depicting a Director character that produces and presents a silent movie featuring a humorous villain character that commits three silly acts of “villainy”. Characters that are in the movie may not speak as part of the presentation of the movie. Instead, like classic silent films, the team will use music played on a team-created instrument and creatively displayed subtitles to convey its story to the audience and judges. Also, teams will use a signal to indicate when the movie begins and ends. 

Winning It!

Team 1

Team 1 placed 3rd in their Division, addressing the Silent Movie Problem. After competition day, the team performed for a Rainbow audience. This team really did a great job creating a wonderful and funny “movie.” Take a look at some photos of their performance:

(Click on any image to start a slide show):

Team 2

Team 2 came in 2nd place which means they are going to the state competition!!

They addressed the Pandora’s Box problem and you could tell they really had a lot of fun using their creative talents to put it all together.

Take a look at some of the photos from their performance at Rainbow:

Awards Ceremony

After the performances came the Awards Ceremony. First, special thanks went out to Edward, the OOTM coach, and all the parent volunteers who helped with all the OOTM meetings.

Gratitude goes out to other Rainbow staff and teachers who gave up space, time and otherwise contributed to the success of the groups: Jenny, Justin, Melissa, Pamela, Rachel, Tracie, Jason & Susan.

The 2nd and 3rd place trophies and certificates were incredibly special!


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