Program Information

What is Odyssey of the Mind?

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What do Kids Get From Odyssey of the Mind?

Who participates in Odyssey of the Mind?

Odyssey of the Mind divisions

Odyssey of the Mind problems

Membership costs

Program Overview

Odyssey of the Mind (OM) is the original creative thinking program that teaches students to learn creative problem-solving methods while having fun in the process. For more than fifty years, this unique program has helped teachers generate excitement in their students. By tapping into creativity, and through encouraging imaginative paths to problem-solving, students learn skills that will provide them with the ability to solve problems — great and small — for a lifetime.

Odyssey of the Mind teaches students how to think divergently by providing open-ended problems that appeal to a wide range of interests. Students learn how to identify challenges and to think creatively to solve those problems. They are free to express their ideas and suggestions without fear of criticism. The creative problem-solving process rewards thinking beyond the box.

Each year, five new problems are presented for teams to solve. Some are technical in nature, while others are performance-based. Each long-term problem rewards Style in the solution. Teams are invited to participate in competitions and present their solution with other teams. At competition, teams are given an on-the-spot spontaneous problem to solve. The combination of long-term problem-solving, Style, and spontaneous problem-solving produces confident, able students.

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FAQ

In Odyssey of the Mind

Students Develop Team-Building Skills

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Students & Teachers Will

Develop team-building skills by working in groups of as many as seven students per team.

Learn to examine problems and to identify the real challenge without limiting the possible solutions and their potential success.

Nurture their creative-thinking process and develop problem-solving skills.

Find something that will appeal to them in any interest area and experience an elevated interest in regular classroom curricula.

Teachers have a program to further provide students with a well-rounded education.

Who Participates in Odyssey of the Mind?

Students from kindergarten through college can participate in OM. Since Odyssey of the Mind is structured to eliminate the fear of criticism, even shy students are afforded the opportunity to open up and express themselves.

In the U.S., teams are categorized by grade level into divisions and compete against teams in the same division and problem. Each school membership allows schools to enter one team per problem per division. Community groups and home-schooled members may enter one team per problem.

The team must compete in the lowest division for which it qualifies. For example, if a team qualifies for Division II it cannot compete in Division III. The team member in the highest grade determines the team’s division.

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Students Develop Team-Building Skills

Odyssey of the Mind Divisions

Primary

Primary is a non-competitive division for the youngest participants, who may be in grades K-2. Primary problems have fewer constraints and are simpler than higher divisions. Teams present their solutions at competition, but they are not scored.

Division I

Division I consists of students in grades 3-5, although younger students may join Division I teams. Team members must be less than 12 years of age on May 1 of the year of the competition (International).

Division II

Division II consists of students in grades 6-8, although Team members must be less than 15 years of age on May 1 of the year of the competition (International).

Division III

Division III consists of students in grades 9-12. The oldest team member cannot qualify for Divisions I or II and must be attending regular school, not a college or university or anything similar (International).

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Odyssey of the Mind Problems

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Membership Costs

A National Membership costs $290 and must be sponsored by a school, a recognized community group, or a college or university. With each membership, you receive:

  • Access to five long-term problems
  • Access to one non-competitive primary problem, designed to introduce younger students to creative problem-solving
  • An Odyssey of the Mind Program Guide, which provides coaching information, rules, sample spontaneous problems . . . AND MORE!
  • The Odyssey of the Mind Newsletter, a quarterly publication loaded with valuable program information
  • The opportunity to enter official competitions
  • A chance to attend the annual World Finals
  • The opportunity to win educational scholarships
  • Support services from International Headquarters.

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LATEST NEWS
  • How are Spontaneous Problems Chosen for Competitions?
    Approximately ⅓ of your final calculated score is based on Spontaneous. Practice, practice, practice…AND…Have fun realizing that on-the-spot creativity can be helped along with advanced prep!
  • Good News! You Can Modify.
    This is when teams are re-evaluating their solutions in light of their experiences at their Qualifying Tournament. And yes, you have the opportunity to make adjustments to your solution given what you learned.
  • Time to Celebrate!
    Congratulations! You and your team did it! As you know by now, just getting your team to the tournament and overcoming all the challenges before, during and after competition is QUITE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT!