Centennial team makes trip to Iowa

Centennial Elementary School team members solving Problem No. 2: "Something Fishy" include from left: Berkley Morley, Megan Graham, Holden Morley, Rhett Winchester, Bryce Carroll and Lathan Pearce. Students were one of four teams from the Edmond area traveling to Iowa State University for Odyssey of the Mind 2016 World Finals competition.

 EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first of a four-part series highlighting each one of the four Edmond area schools who were invited to go to Odyssey of the Mind 2016 World Finals competition. The first of the four part series is about Centennial Elementary School’s team that chose Problem No. 2 to solve, “Something Fishy.” On July 27, the story in Wednesday’s edition will be over the Deer Creek Intermediate School’s team and problem No. 4 “Shark Attack.” July 30 in the Weekender edition will feature Centennial Elementary School’s team that chose problem No. 1, “No Cycle Recycle.” Aug. 4 Wednesday’s story will be about Deer Creek Middle School team that chose Problem No. 3 “Aesop Gone Viral.”Odyssey of the Mind World Finals 2016 drew students from all over the world with about 25 countries and 800 teams competing at Worlds this year.

There were seven teams from the Edmond area that qualified to participate at the World Finals 2016 at Iowa State University. Four Edmond teams chose to make the trip.

“The reasons other teams did not participate was mostly from lack of funds,” said Marci Post, adult coordinator for two of the teams from the Edmond School District. “Teams must raise their own money for travel, accommodations and food. In most cases, props and equipment must be shipped and that is an added cost as well.”

Teams spent months pouring over their problems as they worked to create the most unique interpretation of one of the four problems offered, Post said.

“Many times when a first-time team qualifies for Worlds, they are caught short on funding since they spent all of their time perfecting their problem and little time on fundraising,” she said. “It would be great to have a group come together to help support Odyssey of the Mind teams, a booster club or even private donors.”

Each team may have no more than seven members.

An Odyssey of the Mind team member, Bryce Carroll, from Centennial Elementary Team No. 2 “Something Fishy” was selling tamales to neighbors in the spring to help raise funds for Worlds when he happened on a neighbor that told him her grandfather was the head of engineering at Iowa State University, where Worlds was to take place. She also mentioned that Coover Hall was named after him.

“Bryce made a point to have his picture taken in front of Coover Hall and sent it back to the neighbor,” Post said. “She was very surprised. What a small world at Worlds!”

Centennial Elementary Team solve Problem No. 2: “Something Fishy”

Problem: This team chose to solve a problem that required them to design and operate a technical solution that simulated multiple fishing styles. A Fisher Character was to work from a designated area to “catch” three different objects that were outside that area. The catch was to be on the move and the team was supposed to include something unexpected, expected and a new discovery. The performance was to also include a change of weather and a humorous character that portrayed a potential catch and avoided being caught by the Fisher.

How the team works together to solve the problem: The team chose to portray their solution as a newlywed couple “fishing” for a new cell phone plan. During the solution the manager and clerk in the store describe three different plans to the couple.

The first “catch” is an outdated flip phone that has low Wi-Fi bars, how expected. The second “catch” is a photo with state-of-the-art new technology, a new discovery, but the newlyweds quickly learn the latest technology comes at a hefty price. The couple’s last “catch” was the perfect phone with the perfect plan at the perfect price, how unexpected.

“The team developed three technical fishing methods to make their catches. The first method was designed to replicate noodling — because they were from Oklahoma,” Post said. “A claw on the end of a retractable arm reached out to retrieve the phone.

The second method, the thingy-ma-bobber, resembled a zip line.

The final method was referred to as spear fishing. A spear traveled down a ramp to catch the phone. Then by deflating the ramp’s stand, the direction of the spear was reversed, bringing the catch back to the pier area.

“Sometimes the ramp we built worked; sometimes it didn’t,” said Megan Graham, fifth-grade Centennial student. “We thought we had worked out all the problems but then it didn’t work during our performance at Worlds.”

Megan said she got to use power tools, something she had never had the experience using for a classroom assignment before.

Megan said working on the project made her realize it is not just about working together.

“It is also about the friends you make and the memories you create together.”

The humorous catch character in the solution was an over-priced phone with multiple options, the phone everybody wants.

“This phone would continuously taunt all the customers and employees in the store, but try as he might, our fisherman could not catch the humorous catch character.”

The change of weather was required to be portrayed by manipulating the already existing pieces of the set. In order to achieve this, the team developed a pump system attached to a window. When the pump was turned on it appeared to be raining outside.

“This was by far the students’ favorite part of their performance,” Post said.

Team members were Berkley Morley, Megan Graham, Holden Morley, Rhett Winchester, Bryce Carroll and Lathan Pearce. Coaches are Rebecca Graham and Gina Carroll.

A native Oklahoman, retired school teacher Patty Miller taught journalism and English for 30 years before beginning her second career as a reporter for The Edmond Sun in 2000. She is a previous winner of the OPA's Beachy Musselman Award.

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