The Edmond Sun

May 3, 2013

3 Edmond teams head to world championship

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — More than 800 teams from across the world will compete May 22-25 in the 34th Odyssey of the Mind World Finals at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.

Five teams of Edmond elementary and middle school students made it to Worlds, although only three teams will be attending this summer.

Three Centennial Elementary teams and two Sequoyah Middle School teams  made it to the World Finals.

“Two of the Centennial teams had fifth graders as members and the World Finals will be during their last day of school,” said parent coordinator Marci Post.

The Sequoyah “Pet Project” team members include: Michael Shivley, Jacob Anderson, Ashley Schlepp, Will Gilliland, Taylor Downey, Mackenzie Martin and Phil Gilliland, coach.

Sequoyah “Tumble-wood” team members include: Taryn Gould, Adhya Kumar, Rosie Matthes, Vy Nguyen, Porter Jones, Trip Massey and Kumar Sripathirathan, coach.

Centennial “Pet Project” team members include Mary Helen Landes, Vivian Suhrstedt, Ella Warner, Emma Post, Ryan Packer, Tanner Taylor, Peyton Kennedy and Marci Post, coach.

Centennial “The Email Must Go Through” team members who will not be going to Worlds include: Asher Clift, Sara High, Nico Guerra, Jackson Watts, Annabelle Watts, Enzo Guerra, Allie Clift and Karol Guerra, coach.

Centennial “It’s How You Look at It” team members who will not be going to Worlds include: Breanna Cox, Charlie Warren, Alix Platt, Carson Cox, Max Myers, Melvin Platt, Regan Pendleton and coaches Shera Cox and Janie Myers.

For more than 25 years, the Odyssey of the Mind has incorporated fun with learning as students find creative problem-solving methods to solve one of five problems given to then.

By using team-building skills, students work in groups of as many as seven members as they examine problems and identify the real challenge without limiting the possible solutions and their potential success.

Each year student teams may choose from five new competitive problems. These long-term problems are solved over weeks and months with the work being done outside the classroom.

The long-term problems change every year. They fall into five general categories. These are mechanical/vehicle, technical performance, classics, structure and performance

Some of the problems are more technical, while others are artistic or performance based. Each long-term problem rewards “Style” in the solution. This helps teach students that they should not simply try to solve problems but take the next step of enhancing their solutions.  

Participants include teams from Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Europe, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Mexico, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan and practically every state in the U.S.

Team sponsors for the most part are parents who volunteer time after school and on the weekends working with their team members.

The Centennial Elementary School team and one of the two Sequoyah Middle School teams chose Pet Project for their problem.

In Pet Project the problem was to design, build and run three vehicles that will deliver parts to an Assembly Area. The team will create a signal that lets the audience know which vehicle is about to travel and deliver a part. The parts will be assembled into a pet animal. Once assembly is completed, the animal will perform a trick. The theme of the presentation must include the delivery of the parts, the assembly and the pet animal. Cost limit was $145 for the project.

Centennial student Mary Helen Landes said the hardest part of their project was getting all three of the vehicles finished and making sure that each one of them could carry the parts they were supposed to carry for 8 to 10 feet.

“The most creative part of our project was the fact that we found a loophole in the instructions,” Mary Helen said. “They say a car has to go through a tunnel. You could move the tunnel, but no one else thought of that at the state competition. We moved the tunnel and it was easier to get the car to go through it.”

Taylor Downey with Sequoyah Middle School said the most difficult part of the project was finishing everything in the time constraints set.

“We had a lot of detailed projects going into the final project, but we got them all finished in time,” Taylor said.

The other Sequoyah Middle School team chose Tumble-wood for their project.

For Tumble-wood the teams designed and built a structure made of only balsa wood and glue that will balance and support as much weight as possible. Before weight placement began, the team presented a commercial that includes the structure rolling down a ramp. The structure will be scored for how far it rolls and for how much weight it holds. The team will integrate the placement of the weights into the performance. Cost limit was $145 for the project.

Rosie Matthes with Sequoyah Middle School said the most creative thing about their project is making the columns stronger for World competition.

“The most creative thing for state was the background,” Mary Helen said, “we had a lot of fun making it.”

She said the most difficult thing was making the structure symmetrical

“In order for the structure to not break all the sides had to be exactly alike or they would break easier,” Rosie said. “We did a lot of research and we had a lot of trial and error as we worked on the structure. Each piece of balsa wood had to be cut precisely. It is crazy but it pays off. Our structure held 150 pounds when we tested it, but at the World contest it is going to have to hold, at a minimum, 700 pounds.”

As the students enter the competition, many will form lifelong friendships as they learn about other cultures and exchange pins representing their state, all the while being as creative as they can be.