Odyssey of the Mind


Flyers & Downloads

OotM Program Guide 2016-2017

“When people ask me, “What is Odyssey of the Mind?” I tell them to imagine a combination of theater and problem solving with a creative twist. Through the writing of original scripts, the creation of costumes, props, scenery, and technical elements, teams of students work together to produce incredible solutions to creative problems while thinking “Beyond the Box!” Students with talents in many areas find a unique opportunity to showcase their gifts in script writing, costume creation, music, dance, visual arts, props and scenery construction, engineering, problem-solving, leadership, critical thinking, and more!”

– Lynn Larsen, California Odyssey of the Mind State Director


Why Odyssey of the Mind is Good for Kids

“The Odyssey of the Mind teaches students to learn creative problem-solving methods while having fun in the process. For more than twenty-five years, this unique program has helped teachers generate excitement in their students. By tapping into creativity, and through encouraging imaginative paths to problem-solving, students learn skills that will provide them with the ability to solve problems — great and small — for a lifetime. The Odyssey of the Mind teaches 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.” While conventional thinking has an important place in a well-rounded education, students need to learn how to think creatively and productively.”


“By working in teams of 5-7, participants learn teamwork, critical thinking, problem-solving, the appreciation and understanding of divergent views, and that a group can be a powerful thinking force. Students who participate develop a sense of self-respect and respect for others through development of their solutions, and through preparatory activities such as brainstorming and role-playing.”



Who Can Participate?

Friends of Oak Park Schools is sponsoring this program for children in the Oak Park Unified School District in grades K-12. Children are divided into teams of 5-7 participants in grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

What Are The Problem Synopses?

Click here to download a pdf of the synopses

  • Problem 1: Catch Us If You Can

    Divisions I, II, III & IV – $145
    This is your Odyssey, should you choose to accept it…your team will design, build, and run vehicles form a multi-level Parking Garage to a secret meeting place without being stopped. Vehicles will travel different routes to reach the same destination. During their Odyssey, the vehicles will do something that prevents them from being followed. The performance will include the reason for the meeting, someone that wants to prevent the meeting, a simulation of a scene taking place inside a vehicle as it travel, and a soundtrack to accompany the vehicles’ travel.

  • Problem 2: Odd-a-Bot

    Divisions I, II, & III – $145
    For this problem, teams will create a humorous story about a family that brings home an “Odd-a-Bot.” Instead of being programmed to preform tasks, this Odd-a-Bot robot learns from watching others. Teams will design, build, and operate an original robot that demonstrates human characteristics when performing tasks. In the performance, the Odd-a-Bot will move and learn human actions from watching characters perform activities such as household chores, creating art, and dancing. The Odd-a-Bot learns more than it was expected to learn, and will confuse its actions with humorous results.

  • Problem 3: Classics…It’s Time, OMER

    Divisions I, II, III & IV – $125
    The future and the past collide in this problem about important works of art – both existing and yet-to-be-created. Teams will create and present an original performance about time travelers looking to discover the inspiration for great works of art, little did they know – it was OMER every time! The travelers go back in time – twice into our past and once into our future. They will see OMER inspire two classical artists and a team-created artist from our future. The performance will include how the three works of art positively impact the world, a visual and audible effect that indicates when time travel is occurring, two re-creations of the classic works of art selected from a list, and a team-created work of art.

  • Problem 4: Ready, Set, Balsa, Build!

    Divisions I, II, III & IV – $145
    Creativity can be defined by using only what you have to get a job done. IN this problem, teams will design, build, and test a structure made of only balsa wood and glue that will balance and support as much weight as possible. The structure must include sets of balsa pieces of predetermined sizes and quantities as listed in the problem. Some sets must be parts of the structure while others, if incorporated, will receive additional score – the more sets of pieces used, the higher the score! Teams will present a performance with a theme about using what’s available and that incorporates weight-placement and assembling original team creations.

  • Problem 5: To Be Continued: A Superhero Cliffhanger

    Divisions I, II, III & IV – $125
    Creativity is being taken away from the world, and it is up to Odyssey teams to rescue it! Teams will create and present a humorous performance about an unexpected superhero that encounters three different situations where it must save creativity in some way. The superhero will change appearance when it displays its superpowers and go back to blending in with society when not. The performance will also include a clumsy sidekick, a nemesis character, a choreographed battle, and a cliffhanger ending.

  • Primary: Movin’ Out!

    Grades K-2 – $125
    Teams will create and present a performance about a group that is moving out of one place and into another. IN one scene, team-created props and scenery will make up the first setting. To transform into a new setting, team-made devices will move the scenery and props to a new location. Everything in the setting for the next scene must be made from the transported items. The performance will also include a humorous Moving Character, a reason for the move, and a lost item that is rediscovered in an unusual place.


How To Coach an Odyssey of the Mind Team?

Coaches training will be held at Oak View High School, in room 104 from 10am-12:30pm.

Ready to signup to be a coach, judge, volunteer or get more information?

Click here to signup!


Contact Debbie Hammill (District Science Specialist):dhammill@opusd.org today! Teams are forming now.

Regional Headquarters
California Odyssey of the Mind Website
2014 World Finals for Odyssey of the Mind Photos

California Odyssey of the Mind State Finals Awards Video, 2014: