Odyssey teams of five to seven (5-7) members are formed by parent volunteers each fall and work together to prepare for the Maryland State Competition in March and, if they qualify, for the World Finals Competition in May.
Learn more about Wood Acres' teams at theses pages:
Each year, the teams compete on two challenges, The Long Problem and Spontaneous.
The Long Problem
- The students must choose one of five categories of long problems:
- Vehicle: involves building vehicles of different sizes that must perform specified tasks.
- Technical: involves building “innovative contraptions”.
- Classics: incorporates knowledge of architecture, art, and literature
- Structure: requires the designing and building of a structure using only balsa wood and glue, and competing to see which structure can hold the most weight
- Theatrics: requires the team to act, sing, and dance based on a given theme
However, the different aspects of each of the five categories are not exclusive within that category; acting is prevalent in solutions to all five problems, and throwing in knowledge of history into a non-Classics problem or technology in a non-Tech problem will usually earn a team bonus points.
Spontaneous - As the name suggests, teams do not know ahead of time the topic they are to compete in. At the competition, individual teams will enter a room of judges and will be presented with one of three problem types: Verbal, Hands-on, or Verbal/Hands-On.
In Verbal problems, teams are usually given a minute to think and then two to three minutes to respond to a theme such as "make a rhyme using a name or species of an animal". Teams will then be graded based on the creativity of their individual responses.
Hands-on problems focus on teamwork and the ability to listen to complicated directions. Teams will usually be instructed to build something based on the limited materials given, such as a freestanding tower using a few sheets of paper, some paper clips, a pair of scissors, and a piece of tape. The team with the tallest tower and the best teamwork earns the most points.
A Hybrid, or Verbal/Hands-On, problem has aspects of both types, typically either a verbal problem that involves manipulation of physical objects or a two-part problem: build something in part 1, and provide verbal responses with it in part 2.
Materials from the Maryland Odyssey of the Mind organization are posted below and more information is available at http://mdodyssey.org/