Odyssey of the Mind

Odyssey of the Mind (OM) is an international program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from KG through college. In OM, students learn at a young age skills that will last a lifetime. They work in teams so they learn cooperation and respect for the ideas of others. They evaluate ideas and make decisions on their own, gaining greater self-confidence and increased self-esteem along the way. They work within a budget, so they learn to manage their money. They see that there’s often more than one way to solve a problem, and that sometimes the process is more important than the end result.

How does it work?

Each year, five new competitive problems (long term problems) are presented for the teams to solve. These long-term problems are solved over weeks and months. Teams are formed by division and compete against the teams in the same division who work on the same problem.

Primary: Grades K – 2nd

Division I: Grades 3rd – 5th

Division II: Grades 6th – 8th

A team may consist of five to seven students. Each team chooses one of five competitive long term problems to solve. The problems appeal to a wide range of interests; some are technical in nature, while others are artistic or performance-oriented. Under the guidance of an adult coach, teams will work on their solutions throughout the school year and, then present them at the LA Region competition. Teams who place are invited to compete at the state level. The teams that get placed in the state competition are then invited to participate in the annual Odyssey of the Mind World Finals, where they compete with teams from countries around the world. Teams are scored for their long-term problem solution, how well they solve a "spontaneous" problem on the spot, and "style" -- the elaboration of their long-term problem solution. Each team is also required to provide a judge for the tournament. All judges must attend this training, usually held two weeks before the tournament.