Points are a necessary part of competing in Odyssey. Having the team members know the number of points for each element, and also relative to each other should help them determine where to spend the most time. Often a team, or a team member will get stuck on one element and forget all others. If the team is fine with that, and is having fun with the journey and getting a large number of points for the team is not the ultimate goal, then let them go that route. But if the team is trying o be competitive, bring the team back to the problem and review points and ask the team how they would like to progress once they have the knowledge how the measurement of these will be on competition day.


Primary—With this age group, concern yourself with just trying to get every element included in your skit. Don’t forget style elements, too.  There is time for concern with points when the kids understand the concept of grades. Primary team scoring consists of lots of stars, and notes from judges on particular areas of the skit they enjoyed,, and this is enough of a reward.


Div I—I find one way to get newer or younger teams to understand the long term solution points is to use the rubric concept as I find many teachers use this, even in younger grades. Get an example from one of their assignments in the appropriate grade level and use it as you explain the concept. When I work with younger teams I explain it like this—a teacher will only grade you on what she says she will grade you on. If you do something in addition to the requirements you will only get credit if he says he will give it to you in extra credit—and even then it has some stipulations (sounds like STYLE—wink, wink)—otherwise the extra work in the wrong direction could be better used on where the points count. In addition, some areas for points are a snag point for the team. If there was a character or prop that was cool and the kids love it and it was not counted in the long term solutions—STYLE!


Div II, Div III, Competitive— Okay, I admit it! My teams were always point pigs! They learned the points for the long term solution and determined how to get as many as possible. The idea is to get as many points as possible, but some areas can be weaker. Look at it this way—if you are a new team, trying to get a ‘B’ overall in points is a great goal. Trying to excel on each group of points can be discouraging. Maybe the team can do two out of the three required obstacles and each obstacle is worth five points each. Do two well, try the third and then let it go. If there are two or more parts to a score, be sure to have the team understand the breakdown of the points and focus on each section. Again, don’t neglect any points but reality of time and often age and experience may dictate effort spent.