Sunday, March 06, 2011

Odyssey of the Mind in Virginia, Loudoun, Fairfax

Once again, that extremely competitive and mind-bending experience known as "Odyssey of the Mind" tournament season is upon us - the Virginia Region 13 Tournament was yesterday (Western Fairfax and PWC); the Region 15 Tournament (which includes Loudoun County) is next Saturday.

Very well-known among the academic-focused, "OM" is a school-year long competition among teams of about 8 students in age groups starting from 3rd-grade - this year, we had a 5th-grader and 7th-grader participate. The competition includes a demonstration of "Spontaneous" group engagement and problem-solving skills, presentation of a "Long-Term Problem" (things like building a better mousetrap or constructing balsa-wood structures that support the most weight), and a Skit, where the group performs a very funny but thoughtful short play within some very precise and challenging constraints (complete with required, team-built props and costumes).

Congratulations to the long and challenging hours put in by parents and volunteers, coaches, judges, the "Navigators" and "Odysseers", and of course the student teams - who spent at least 4-6 hours a week since September (and some even more) practicing and preparing for the entirely student-created presentation and competition!

A Nysmith 3-5th grade team (mix of Loudoun and Fairfax area students) takes the stage to accept their award!). See an article and picture from last year's event.

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