This content was originally published by the Longmont Observer and is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
Blue Mountain Elementary's Odyssey of the Mind team has qualified for World Finals after having placed first in both the Longs Peak Regional and Colorado State competitions. The Blue Mountain team will find themselves in competition with over 800 teams from 26 countries at the World Finals at the end of May.
The Blue Mountain Elementary group consists of students in the 3rd-5th grades. Among the group are: Sarah (5th), Justin (4th), Shiva (4th), Hayden (3rd), Aayush (3rd), Tucker (4th) and Addie (5th). They are coached by Wyn Schulz and Ron Metzner.
According to the Odyssey of the Mind Colorado website:
"Odyssey of the Mind is an extra-curricular school activity in creative problem-solving. Modeled on interscholastic sports, Odyssey of the Mind’s creative competitions combines the excitement of athletic competition with fun-filled often zany mental gymnastics. Teams match wits & abilities at local, state, and world competition.
A creative problem solving program for kids K-College, Odyssey of the Mind teams choose one of 5 competitive problems or K-2nd grade can choose a Primary Problem to solve. In the process of solving their problem, children learn to think outside the box, work together to develop creative solutions to broadly defined problems, and present their solution in an 8 minute performance. In addition, teams are rewarded for not just solving the problem, but for enhancing their solution with style. Teams also compete in an on-the-spot spontaneous problem as part of the competition."
The problem chosen by the Blue Mountain group was to build a structure out of balsa wood that could withstand as much weight as possible. The structure had to weigh less than 15 grams. The Blue Mountain team won first in the Colorado State competition held 815 pounds, beating out the second place competition, whose structure held 295 pounds.
Here is what a couple of members from the Blue Mountain Elementary team had to say about their Odyssey of the Mind experience thus far:
“Everybody works so hard and so this is also why we have made it this far” - Sarah , 5th Grade
"I've learned a lot about working with people who don't always agree with each other, but actually have pretty good ideas in the long term." - Tucker, 4th Grade.
The Blue Mountain Elementary team is now raising money to help support their trip to the World Finals. They have several fundraisers to contribute to if you are interested in helping. The first is a gofundme campaign and the other is a family fun activity at Pound (see the attached flyer for additional information).
Blue Mountain Elementary is not the only St. Vrain Valley School to participate in Odyssey of the Mind. Seven other local teams also qualified for the World Finals. Those schools include, along with their rankings in the state competition:
- Twin Peaks Charter Academy (Problem 1/Division 2)-2nd place
- Altona Middle School (Problem 2/Division 2)-1st place
- Altona Middle School (Problem 3/Division 2)-1st place
- Imagine Charter School at Firestone (Problem 3/Division 2)-3rd place--this team also received the Renatra Fusca Award, which is a special creativity award.
- Twin Peaks Charter Academy (Problem 4/Division 2)-2nd place
- Niwot High School (Problem 4/Division 3)-1st place
- Skyline High School (Problem 5/Division 3)-1st place
*Note the divisions are broken up based on age groups: elementary, middle and high schools. To see a list of the problems the teams were asked to solve, see below. The problems are given to all age groups and are judged based on their performance and accomplishments with in their age group's performances.
Good luck to all the St. Vrain Valley teams. We wish you well.