How to Join Odyssey of the Mind
Step 1: Create Your Team(s)
OM consists of teams of up to 7 students. Some schools offer the program and form several teams of students this way. Some parents will get together and start their own team(s) for their children if the local school doesn’t currently offer the program. Some homeschooling parents coordinate with each other to create a team (or multiple teams) for their children. You can join OM and form a team (or multiple teams) on your own, whether as a homeschool, a community group, or a team representing an existing community organization (e.g., the local Rotary Club or city library).
Step 2: Register with Odyssey of the Mind
A single membership covers multiple teams — each membership is able to enter a team of up to 7 students in each of the five problems in each age division covered by the membership. Some groups will have just one team competing, but most OM groups have multiple teams — either way, one OM membership covers everyone! An added bonus: a membership can have as many Primary Problem (K-2) teams as it wants. Each problem students solve also has a cost limit for what they can spend creating their solution, so teams are forced to be creative, to re-use and re-purpose items as they create their solutions. This helps keep the competition affordable and fair! Register your team(s) at www.odysseyofthemind.com/join/.
Step 3: Solve a Long-Term Problem
Each team will choose one of five possible Long-Term Problems to solve. These problems are included in your membership packet and can be accessed online once you are a registered member of OM. The specific requirements of each problem change year to year, but the categories stay the same: 1) Vehicular, 2) Technical, 3) Classical, 4) Structural, 5) Theatrical. You can see a preview of the current year’s problems by reading the synopses!
In addition to the Long-Term Problem, teams will also practice what are called Spontaneous Problems. Spontaneous Problems are activities that are provided to teams *in-the-moment* that require them to use quick-thinking skills to solve a problem. With Spontaneous, you never know what you’re going to get! Visit our coaches page for some practice problems.
Step 4: Compete!
Students from all over Maryland and Washington DC will work for weeks to months solving their respective Long-Term Problem. Then, in early spring each year, we hold a state competition where teams come together and share their awesome solutions in front of trained judges, friends and family, and other teams from all over the association! The winners at the state competition will earn the right to compete at the annual Odyssey of the Mind World Finals competition, which takes place each year in late May and is held at a large university in the U.S. (past sites have included Iowa State, Michigan State, University of Maryland – College Park, University of Colorado – Boulder, University of Tennessee – Knoxville). World Finals is an international weeklong celebration of creativity, fun, teamwork, and so much more!
*Adapted from Illinois Odyssey of the Mind materials.