What is Odyssey of the Mind?
Odyssey of the Mind is an international program that allows students to learn creative problem-solving methods while having fun in the process. For more than 30 years, Odyssey of the Mind has been teaching 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 “outside of the box.” Although conventional thinking has an important place in a well-rounded education, students need to learn how to think creatively and productively. Odyssey is a way to foster 21st-century skills and engage students with STEM and also connects to the Common Core standards.
Odyssey of the Mind is a Pioneer in Education Standards…
From the start, Odyssey recognized the importance of many of the skills now emphasized in education today such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The program combines that with history and art and has encouraged learning these subjects through the Classics and performance problems in particular.
…With a Twist
All Odyssey solution require students to perform, not just the sciences, but the arts as well – whether it be set-building, costume-making, creating props, acting, singing, or playing an instrument. These skills are important to create a balanced education. Because they are doing something fun, students are eager to perform and develop self-confidence and public speaking skills along the way. Many participants credit their success to Odyssey of the Mind. Because different elements are involved within each problem, Odyssey brings together student with varying interests that often form life-long friendships.
In Odyssey of the Mind . . .
- Students develop team-building skills by working in groups of as many as seven students per team.
- Students learn to examine problems and to identify the real challenge without limiting the possible solutions and their potential success.
- The creative-thinking process is nurtured and developed as a problem-solving tool.
- Students of all types will find something that will appeal to them.
- The fun of participation leads to an elevated interest in regular classroom curricula.
- Teachers have a program to further provide students with a well-rounded education.
Long-Term Problem-Solving: Teams are challenged to present creative “solutions” to a long-term problem. A new set of five problems are presented each year, and you can view short summaries of each of this year’s problems on the Problem Synopses page.
Spontaneous Problem-Solving: In addition to the annual long-term problems, teams are asked to solve a spontaneous problem on the day of the competition. Spontaneous problems encourage students to work together and think on their feet. Visit the Spontaneous Practice page for some examples of spontaneous problems.
Odyssey of the Mind began in 1978 with a idea from Dr. C. Samuel Micklus, Professor Emeritus at Rowan University. Read more about “Dr. Sam”!
Not-for-profit, volunteer-run organizations administer Odyssey of the Mind’s international program in each participating state and country. Massachusetts Odyssey of the Mind, or MA Odyssey, oversees the program in Massachusetts. To learn more about the the international Odyssey of the Mind program, please visit: www.odysseyofthemind.com.
About MA Odyssey
MA Odyssey is a 501(c)3 organization that is run by an all-volunteer board of working professionals in a variety of fields across the state who donate our time because we believe in the importance of the program. Other volunteers judge the competitions and serve in many different positions to make the program a success. If you would like to join the Odyssey family, please let us know!