Multiple Districts – After a multi-year hiatus from in-person competition among some of the most creative young minds in Michigan schools, Odyssey of the Mind teams from 29 Kent County public schools and many more from the region met for a day of creative problem solving in Middleville, Michigan.
Ten teams from Thornapple Kellogg, Kentwood, Forest Hills, and Rockford public schools earned first place honors at the state final, earning them spots at the Odyssey of the Mind world finals in May. Many more local teams advanced to the global competition by earning second and third place in their competition categories.
Students in Odyssey of the Mind work collaboratively – strictly independent of parents and coaches – to solve problems from categories they choose at the beginning of each school year. They present their solutions in some categories as skits or demonstrations designed and written entirely by them.
Other categories require teams to construct things from wood, or to create a series of contraptions and devices that perform tasks without human interaction. During competitions, scores also rely partly on a “spontaneous” problem-solving task in which a team must solve an additional problem in fewer than 10 minutes.
Here are just a few snapshots from the day-long competition on March 18.
Alli Poosawtsee is a writer who made her home in West Michigan after spending her childhood living in the former Soviet Union and Germany. She served as the editor-in-chief for Calvin University's student newspaper and then spent nine years as a writer and content strategist at her alma mater. Both of her children attend Grand Rapids Public Schools and she is an ardent supporter of public education.