Odyssey of the Mind Activities 2015-2016

Last year, Campbell’s PTA sponsored two Odyssey of the Mind teams. Team formation is dependent on volunteer parents who are willing to commit to acting as coaches for teams of 5-7 students. While the coach is not responsible for solving the problem, sewing costumes, painting sets, writing songs, or building sets, they are responsible for meeting with their team regularly, usually once a week, so the students can practice spontaneous problem solving and work on the solution to the long-term problem they choose. It is the responsibility of the students to come up with the ideas and bring them to life; however, it is the coach who helps keep the students on track toward completing their solution by keeping students focused, productive, and safe during their meetings. Parents of students are all asked to volunteer in some way toward the group’s effort, whether serving as a judge or volunteer at the regional meet in March, going on shopping runs with their child to purchase materials or sending in snacks for the meetings.

Odyssey 2016At Campbell, the PTA sponsors the Odyssey of the Mind program, and therefore the cost to parents is minimal. The PTA funds the school membership which is purchased through Creative Competitions Incorporated, coaches’ training fees, and fees for the regional meet. The PTA advertises and registers students for Odyssey of the Mind through the Project Discovery catalog; however, unlike other Project Discovery classes, a parent from each team must step up to coach in order for the team to form. Also, unlike other fall Project Discovery classes, the meetings run through early March instead of stopping in December like the other fall classes. Last year, one of our teams worked on the long-term problem entitled, “Fur, Fins Feathers, and Friends.” They created a humorous 8-minute-play about some diverse animal friends who had to cooperatively solve a problem. During the regional meet, they had to perform their solution to that problem and solve a spontaneous problem with their team as well. The team consisted of six members, all 3rd- 5th graders from Campbell. Their coach was Patty Healy.

Odyssey 2016The other team that was formed last year was our primary team with the help of Patricia Bullington-McGuire. Primary teams work on a long-term problem as well, but they perform non-competitively at the regional meet in March. Last year’s problem involved characters finding a magical item that came to life. The team consisted of six members, all Kindergarten through 2nd graders at Campbell.

Both teams performed along with close to 180 other teams from the surrounding areas of Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria, and part of Fairfax County at the Nova East Regional Meet at West Potomac High School in March 2016.