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Ashford Park Elementary

Dekalb County Schools

Odyssey of the Mind

Odyssey of the Mind



What is Odyssey of the Mind?

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative-thinking activity in which students work in teams to solve a long-term problem over the course of several months. They will present their solution at a regional tournament, at which they will also be asked to solve a second short-term spontaneous problem they receive that day.

Teams are scored based on the creativity of their solutions and on the style with which they present their long-term solution. They may also be judged on their ability to work as a team, and other factors.

Who may participate?

Any student at Ashford Park in grades 2nd-5th may participate in Odyssey of the Mind. 

How much does Odyssey of the Mind cost?

There is no way to know exactly how much you will need to spend on the solution of a problem. There is a cost limit for each problem, and teams are responsible for the costs of materials, costumes, sets, and anything else used in the solution of the problem. Teams will also need to be prepared for the cost of snacks, transportation, and tournament entrance fees.

If teams advance to the state level, for example, they will be expected to cover their own tournament fees as well as the cost of transportation and lodging for the event.

Team parents typically split the costs among themselves.

How much time does it take?

Students at Ashford Park should be prepared to balance the activity with their schoolwork and other activities in which they participate. It is important that students and parents who join an OM team know that the other team members are counting on them to attend regular meetings and contribute to the solution of the problem.

Students will not be able to complete all the work necessary to finish an Odyssey of the Mind problem in meetings. They will need to be prepared to do some “homework,” such as working on costumes, props, scripts, structure design, or other tasks.

If a student leaves a full team of seven students after having worked on the problem, he or she cannot be replaced for the tournament without costing the team a penalty. We therefore ask that students seriously consider whether they feel they can participate in Odyssey of the Mind before making the commitment to join a team.

Successful teams should plan to meet at least once per week in the fall and more often as needed in the spring to prepare for the regional tournament. If teams advance at the regional tournament, they may wish to rehearse more before the state tournament and additionally if they advance to World Finals!

Where and when does Odyssey of the Mind meet?

Once teams have been formed, the parents of team members are responsible for setting the practice schedule. Teams are permitted to meet on campus after school while the building is open, but students and parents need to be ready to work on their projects off campus as well, to give them access to tools, materials, and places to store their work. Before a team can practice off campus, parent coaches must go through a background check with Dekalb Schools. More information will be sent to coaches.

How much will I be involved as a parent?

All parents of team members will be involved with the team in some capacity. Each team will need at least one coach (preferably two), a volunteer at tournaments, a judge at tournaments, and others to provide transportation, shopping (and scavenging), and cheerleading! 

For more information, please contact the School Coordinator, Ms. Gramlich.