By Britney Morgan
Can you design and build a vehicle that travels on tracks, overcomes obstacles and makes stops along the way without ever touching the floor? What about speaking in rhymes and riddles as you report the weather or building structures out of balsa wood and glue that can balance and support a significant amount of weight?
You can, if you put your ‘mind’ to it! Sarah Smith Elementary’s Odyssey of the Mind program is once again headed to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals after another great year of competition, placing first in the regional competition and second in the Georgia Odyssey of the Mind State Competition this March. The top two teams from each division have now advanced to the World Finals and will compete against other teams from across the world.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Each week, the Sarah Smith team applies their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics.
They then bring their solutions to local, state, and world competitions. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and about 30 other countries participate.
Headed by the team’s coach and Sarah Smith parent, Leslie Langley, and fourth and fifth grade teacher Michelle Carter, Sarah Smith‘s Odyssey of the Mind organization consists of fourth and fifth graders.
Carter said that Odyssey of the Mind teaches students to learn creative problem-solving methods while having fun in the process, “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.”
She explained that it helps students identify challenges and think creatively to solve problems. “The creative problem-solving process rewards thinking “outside the box,” said Carter.
The last time Sarah Smith sent a team to the World Finals was 2008. They sent two teams that performed very well. Out of more than 50 teams one finished in fourth place and the other in seventh.
This year the World Finals will be held at Michigan State University, May 20-23, 2015.
Be sure to wish the creative thinkers of Sarah Smith good luck as they set out to take on the world!