Pleasant Ridge Union School District offers Odyssey Of The Mind for students in 4th-8th grades. The program’s focus is on participation in creative problem-solving that results in a competition that is widely recognized for meeting Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM); Common Core; and 21st Century learning objectives.
Divided into teams of 5-7 students, children have the opportunity to solve one of five complex open-ended problems using creative thinking strategies. The student-driven solution process takes months of brainstorming, creating, designing and building, all culminating in the regional Odyssey of the Mind competition where teams present their main problem’s solution and separately solve an on-the-spot problem. Teams have the opportunity to advance to California state-level competition and 7th and 8th Grade teams have the opportunity to participate in world-level competition where top teams from around the globe gather to share their solutions.
In the Odyssey Of The Mind program, students harness their own abilities, knowledge and interests while developing skill sets that will help them succeed in life, such as collaborative problem-solving, leadership, work ethic, perseverance, public speaking, creative thinking, designing to requirements, working within deadlines, working within budget constraints, conflict resolution, interpersonal communication, social interaction, and project management. Regardless of competition results, each student experiences success through active participation in the free-thinking process. Parents also have a unique opportunity to share in the rewarding experience with their children by contributing to the program in various ways.
To participate in the Odyssey Of The Mind, students must undergo a rigorous selection process. Students are initially considered based on standardized criteria, but students can also be evaluated based on a teacher recommendation or upon request of the student or parent. An important consideration for both student and parent is the time commitment of participation; as in other competitive team activities, each program member deserves fully engaged teammates. OOTM practices will occur on Tuesdays and Thursdays from . Additional practices may be scheduled by the team coach when necessary.
The PRUSD Odyssey Of The Mind program offers a learning environment like no other. Students are encouraged to not only think “outside the box”, but also to investigate ways to creatively use “the box” to solve a problem. Why not use the box to build a 3-D rendition of a Picasso cubist masterpiece? Or incorporate the box into a machine that pulls a rabbit out of a hat? Or cut up the box and use the pieces to create something completely unique? The possibilities are endless!