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World Finals

  Odyssey of the Mind Creativity Site
What is Odyssey of the Mind?

Odyssey of the Mind is a world-wide, nonprofit organization that promotes creative team-based problem solving in a school program for students from kindergarten through college. It features an annual competition component at local through international levels. Students solve problems in a variety of areas--from building mechanical devices such as spring-driven vehicles to giving their own interpretation of literary classics. Through solving problems, students learn life-long skills such as working with others as a team, evaluating ideas, making decisions, and creating solutions while also developing self-confidence from their experiences. The program helps students learn divergent thinking and problem solving skills while participating in a series of challenging and motivating activities, both inside and outside their regular classroom curriculum.

Odyssey of the Mind was featured on television's Creativity with Bill Moyers and I, Leonardo: A Journey of the Mind, and in many publications, most recently Smithsonian Magazine.

How Does It Work?

Working under the guidance of coaches, teams of five to seven students develop solutions to problems and are given the opportunity to test their creative solutions against those of other teams. New problems are designed each year and allow for competition in four divisions. Participation in Divisions I, II, and II is determined by age. Division IV is for participants in college or the military. In competition, teams are judged in three areas: the effectiveness of the solution to the long-term problem (200 points); the style of the solution and its overall effect (50 points); and the solution to a spontaneous problem given to the teams on competition day (100 points). OM chartered associations' local, regional, state/provincial competitions culminate in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals held annually in late May or early June. Competing teams represent top finishers in each U.S. state and many nations. More than 700 student teams (totaling nearly 5,000 students) participate along with their coaches. In addition, over 300 adults help officiate the four-day event. The estimated attendance at World Finals is 14,000.

Who Participates?

When the program began in 1978, 28 New Jersey schools participated. Today, more than one million students participate. There are member schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and many other countries as diverse as Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.

For More Information

For more information about OM competition, the OM Association, and membership, please see the Odyssey of the Mind Fact Sheet at the National OM site.

About This Site

This site is one of many Internet resources for Odyssey of the Mind. Designed by a current participant and former participant, it is meant to express their enthusiasm for the program and to provide information for its members, as well as publicity for OM. It is not currently an officially sanctioned source of Odyssey of the Mind information. Official information is available only from the National OM site.

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