What Is Odyssey Of The Mind


Extra Curricular Activity

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.


Odyssey of the Mind Problems

The problems are designed for competition, with scoring components and limitations, or rules to be followed. The long-term problems change every year. They fall into five general categories. These are mechanical/vehicle, technical performance, classics, structure and performance.


Learn more about this year’s fun problems to challenge kids creative thinking skills

2018-2019 Problem Synopsis (PDF)


Mechanical/Vehicle (Problem 1)DSC_0052

Teams design, build and operate vehicles of various size and with various power sources. Sometimes they drive the vehicles, and sometimes the vehicles perform tasks, such as overcoming obstacles or visiting other “countries” to retrieve artifacts.




IMG_3032Technical Performance (Problem 2)

Teams make innovative contraptions and incorporate artistic elements into their solutions. They might be asked to write an original musical score to play on a “new” type of instrument, or to build a robot with human characteristics, or to perform tasks using a chain reaction of snapping mousetraps.




Classics (Problem 3)IMG_2756

The theme of this problem is based on the classical — from literature to architecture to art. Whether it’s writing an additional chapter to Moby Dick or bringing paintings to life, it’s always a terrific learning experience.




PB-Structure 1Structure (Problem 4)

Teams design and build structures, using only balsa wood and glue. They test them by supporting and holding as much weight as possible — sometimes more than a thousand pounds!





Performance (Problem 5)IMG_2804

In this problem, teams present performances that revolve around a specific theme and incorporate required elements. Past themes include “morphing” objects, animals that express human emotions, and originating folktales.