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Odyssey Blog: Odyssey of the Mind Begins

Exploring Verbal Problems,  Hands-On Problems and Spontaneous Problems

September 18, 2012: Odyssey of the Mind was developed thirty years ago in New Jersey on the concept that creativity can be taught. I like to modify that thinking by saying we can nurture our innate creativity by creating an environment that fosters its natural development.

Each week we will work in different groups, answering verbal challenges, hands-on problems and spontaneous problems that stretch our brains like runners stretch their muscles. Ultimately we will choose two of the five 2013 Odyssey Long Term problems to solve and present our solutions to Talking Stick friends and families. Although we will not be competing, on March 9, 2013, we will be attending the Southeastern Pennsylvania Odyssey of the Mind Regional Tournament as spectators. This will give us a taste of what the event is like and allow us to watch the solutions of other teams.

On our first day together we created alliterations as a way to help us remember each others' names. We went around the circle listing the inventions that we could not live without and the inventions that we feel the world needs. Internet and computer related activities topped our list of those we could not live without and we had a broad range of inventive ideas for the future. Nice N wants to invent a collar that translates cat moods, Peaceful P wants a tiny robot that you can swallow that would attack and destroy tumors; Magic M wants to create bikes and pogo sticks that stop you from falling; and Curious C wants to create a device that tells you when food is spoiled in your refrigerator. Joyful G is interested in renewable energy options and we will be cool all summer long with Majestic M's portable personal air-conditioner. The ideas flowed! Our world will be in good hands with our young people if they continue to grow their creativity!

Warmup Spontaneous Verbal Problems

Name two unlikely things and what they have in common:

  • a nun and a soldier -- they both wear uniforms
  • a peach and a person -- they both have skin
  • the water and the sky -- they are both blue
  • a fortune teller and a tennis player -- they both have balls

A name that corresponds to what you do for a living:

  • Rose Bud -- a landscaper
  • Dan Druff -- a barber
  • Chuck Roast -- a butcher
  • Melody Blues -- Jazz singer

We broke up into four groups. Each group was asked to put a puzzle together. Since the puzzles were simple 24 piece puzzles, the first responses were things like “this is too easy” and “we are going to be first.” Then one group noticed that they had a piece that didn't fit their puzzle. “We do too” another group called out. “Hey, does this piece belong to your puzzle?” Soon young people were running back and forth between groups sharing and collecting puzzle pieces. Afterward we had a great discussion about the different roles we can choose to play when working in a group and we talked about the ways teams can work together to help each other instead of competing against each other. We noted that although I only asked each team to put the puzzles together, most people assumed it was a competition. When the switched puzzle pieces were discovered the atmosphere became more relaxed as each group happily exchanged pieces with other groups.

Great first day! We are Team Talking Stick.

-- Asha

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