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Program Information

LONG-TERM PROBLEM SYNOPSES

2017-2018 LONG-TERM PROBLEM SYNOPSES

Problem 1: Triathlon Travels
Divisions I, II, III & IV
On your mark…get set…go! In this problem, teams will ride on and drive original vehicles in an Odyssey-style triathlon. They will try to score in “curling,” hit the right targets when “jousting,” and “run track” by navigating a course in two directions. Between these events, the team will entertain the audience and the vehicle will change appearance. All of the action will take place in a team-created performance that features the vehicles’ triathlon travels, a commentator, and a coach.

Problem 2: Emoji, Speak for Yourself 
Divisions I, II, & III
Three-dimensional emojis will be used to communicate the life story of a once famous, but now forgotten, emoji. Teams will create a performance where the emojis demonstrate special functions like growing, turning into a team member, and changing into a different emoji. Performances will also include a choreographed dance, a technical representation of texting, and sounds to enhance the performance. The twist? No spoken language is allowed.

Problem 3: Classics… Mockumentary! Seriously?
Divisions I, II, III & IV
There are often two sides to the same story. In this problem, characters don’t always agree as they recount the classic story where they appeared. The team will select a classic from a list and present different characters in a humorous documentary-style performance where details are added, denied, exaggerated, and disputed. There will be interviews, behind-the-scenes “clips,” and voice-overs that take the audience through the story and help present the events as they “really” took place. Whose side will you be on?

Problem 4: Animal House
Divisions I, II, III & IV
Over the years, Odyssey of the Mind teams have designed structures that changed into many unbelievable shapes and sizes that balanced and held as much weight as possible. This year, teams will turn their balsa wood structures into animals! Since animals need to eat, they must be fed. The structure will have its appearance transformed and explained during an original performance. During the performance, the structure must hold the team-created food while it supports weights.

Problem 5: A Stellar Hangout
Divisions I, II, III & IV
In the outreaches of the universe, there is an Intergalactic Hangout where all sorts of creatures from different worlds stop, eat, refuel, and relax. Teams will create a humorous performance centered on this science fiction hangout that includes original creatures, foods, and a search for space treasure. There will also be a worker character, entertainment, and a futuristic map at the hangout.

Primary: We’re Cooking Now
Grades K-2

Creativity heats up as teams create their own cooking show where a chef gives an original cooking lesson to a special guest. The show takes place from a creative kitchen where balsa wood is used to support a cookbook, a bowl, and an object of the team’s choosing. A special guest will visit and learn to cook from the chef by using team-created representations of food. Performances will also include a name for the show, theme music, and a story about the meal they are cooking.


 

Prior Years:

2016-2017 LONG-TERM PROBLEM SYNOPSES

Problem 1: Catch Us If You Can
Divisions I, II, III & IV
This is your Odyssey, should you choose to accept it…your team will design, build, and run vehicles from a multi-level Parking Garage to a secret meeting place without being stopped. Vehicles will travel different routes to reach the same destination. During their Odyssey, the vehicles will do something that prevents them from being followed. The performance will include the reason for the meeting, someone that wants to prevent the meeting, a simulation of a scene taking place inside a vehicle as it travels, and a soundtrack to accompany the vehicles’ travel.
Cost limit: $145 USD.

Problem 2: Odd-a-Bot
Divisions I, II, & III
For this problem, teams will create a humorous story about a family that brings home an “Odd-a-Bot.” Instead of being programmed to perform tasks, this Odd-a-Bot robot learns from watching others. Teams will design, build, and operate an original robot that demonstrates human characteristics when performing tasks. In the performance, the Odd-a-Bot will move and learn human actions from watching characters perform activities such as household chores, creating art, and dancing. The Odd-a-Bot learns more than it was expected to learn, and will confuse its actions with humorous results.
Cost limit: $145 USD.

Problem 3: Classics... It's Time, OMER
Divisions I, II, III & IV
The future and the past collide in this problem about important works of art – both existing and yet-to-be-created. Teams will create and present an original performance about time travelers looking to discover the inspiration for great works of art, little did they know – it was OMER every time! The travelers go back in time — twice into our past and once into our future. They will see OMER inspire two classical artists and a team-created artist from our future. The performance will include how the three works of art positively impact the world, a visual and audible effect that indicates when time travel is occurring, two re-creations of the classic works of art selected from a list, and a team-created work of art.
Cost limit: $125 USD.

Problem 4: Ready, Set, Balsa, Build!
Divisions I, II, III & IV
Creativity can be defined by using only what you have to get a job done. In this problem, teams will design, build, and test a structure made of only balsa wood and glue that will balance and support as much weight as possible. The structure must include sets of balsa pieces of predetermined sizes and quantities as listed in the problem. Some sets must be parts of the structure while others, if incorporated, will receive additional score - the more sets of pieces used, the higher the score! Teams will present a performance with a theme about using what's available and that incorporates weight-placement and assembling original team creations.
Cost limit: $145 USD.

Problem 5: To Be Continued: A Superhero Cliffhanger
Divisions I, II, III & IV
Creativity is being taken away from the world, and it is up to Odyssey teams to rescue it! Teams will create and present a humorous performance about an unexpected superhero that encounters three different situations where it must save creativity in some way. The superhero will change appearance when it displays its superpowers and go back to blending in with society when not. The performance will also include a clumsy sidekick, a nemesis character, a choreographed battle, and a cliffhanger ending.
Cost limit: $125 USD.

Primary: Movin' Out!
Grades K-2
Teams will create and present a performance about a group that is moving out of one place and into another. In one scene, team-created props and scenery will make up the first setting. To transform into a new setting, team-made devices will move the scenery and props to a new location. Everything in the setting for the next scene must be made from the transported items. The performance will also include a humorous Moving Character, a reason for the move, and a lost item that is rediscovered in an unusual place.
Cost limit: $125 USD.


2015-2016 LONG-TERM PROBLEM SYNOPSES

Problem 1: No-Cycle Recycle
Divisions I, II, & III
Teams will build, ride on, and drive a no-cycle, recycling vehicle. It will pick up discarded items, adapt them in some way, and then deliver them to places to be re-used. The vehicle must travel without pedaling for propulsion. In addition, the driver will have an assistant worker riding on the vehicle that will help process the trash items being repurposed. They will make an unplanned stop along the way to perform a random act of kindness.
Cost limit: $145 USD.

Problem 2: Something Fishy
Divisions I, II, III & IV
Teams will design and operate a technical solution that simulates multiple styles of fishing. A Fisher Character will work from a designated area to "catch" three different objects that are outside of that area. The catch will be on the move and will include something expected, something unexpected, and a new discovery. The performance will also include a change of weather and a humorous character that portrays a potential catch and avoids being caught by the Fisher.
Cost limit: $145 USD.

Problem 3: Classics... Aesop Gone Viral
Divisions I, II, III & IV
Teams will create and present an original performance about a fable gone "viral." The problem will include a list of fables attributed to Aesop. Teams will select one and portray it, and its moral, as going viral - that is, being shared throughout the community and beyond. The performance will be set in a past era and include a narrator character, an artistic representation of the fable's moral, and a character that makes a wrong conclusion about the moral and is corrected.
Cost limit: $125 USD.

Problem 4: Stack Attack!
Divisions I, II, III & IV
This problem requires teams to design, build, and test a structure, made only of balsa wood and glue that will balance and support as much weight as possible--twice. During weight-placement, teams can "Attack the Stack" where they will remove all of the weights except for the bottom one and the crusher board. Teams will also receive score for removing weights! After Attacking the Stack, the weight placement process can be repeated to add to the total weight held. Teams will incorporate weight-placement, repetition, and Attacking a Stack into the theme of the performance.
Cost limit: $145 USD.

Problem 5: Fins, Furs, Feathers & Friends
Divisions I, II, III & IV
The team's problem is to create and present a humorous performance depicting problem solving from the perspective of three different animals. The animals will help a stranger, help each other, and solve a problem that threatens the survival of all animals. During the performance, the animals will sing and dance. They will also show curiosity, sympathy, frustration, and joy.
Cost limit: $125 USD.

Primary:Stir the Pot
Grades K-2
Teams will create and present a humorous performance about an object that comes to life when touched by an item that turns out to be magical. While it is alive, the animated object will encounter three other objects that will result in a dramatic change of behavior. There will be a narrator character that explains what is happening and a character that becomes friends with the object. The performance will also include a team-created poem, song, or dance.
Cost limit: $125 USD.


2014-2015 LONG-TERM PROBLEM SYNOPSES

Problem 1: Runaway 'Train'
Divisions I, II, & III

The team’s problem is to design, build and operate one or more vehicles that will travel on tracks and make stops at different stations without touching the floor. While traveling between stations, the vehicles must overcome obstacles —moving uphill, towing something, and more. The theme of the performance will explain the vehicle’s difficulties on the track and will include a ‘conductor’ character. Once the vehicle reaches its final destination it will display a flag or banner during a victory lap!
Cost limit: $145 USD.

Problem 2: Experiencing Technical Difficulties
Divisions I, II, III, & IV
The problem is to design, build, and demonstrate various devices that complete specific tasks. The team will create a theme where technical failures must be resolved through completing the tasks. There will be a list of tasks to choose from including ring a bell, change the wording on something, sound an alarm, move an object, etc. There will also be a mysterious engineer character. Of course, there’s a twist — all of the devices must be powered by rubber bands!
Cost limit: $145 USD.

Problem 3: Pandora’s Box 
Divisions I, II, III & IV
In this classics problem, teams will put a video game spin on the story of Pandora’s Box. A gamer character will take on this multi-level game inspired by the Greek myth. The game will include a prologue that depicts the original story of Pandora’s Box, three characters representing different evils that escaped the box, and a power meter that represents the gamer character’s health. To beat the game, the player will advance to the final level where it will release hope into the world.
Cost limit: $125 USD.

Problem 4: Lose Your Marbles 
Divisions I, II, III & IV
This problem requires teams to design, build, and test a structure, made only of balsa wood and glue, that will balance and support as much weight as possible. The structure will also hold five marbles that will be released during weight placement as a result of a team-created device removing a piece of the structure. After the crusher board and one additional weight are placed on top of the structure, the first marble will be released. After the next weight is supported, the team will use its device to release another marble, and so on. The team will incorporate weight placement and “losing your marbles” into the theme of the performance.
Cost limit: $145 USD.

Problem 5: Silent Movie
Divisions I, II, III & IV
Lights, camera...action! In this problem teams will create and present a performance depicting a Director character that produces and presents a silent movie featuring a humorous villain character that commits three silly acts of “villainy”. Characters that are in the movie may not speak as part of the presentation of the movie. Instead, like classic silent films, the team will use music played on a team-created instrument and creatively displayed subtitles to convey its story to the audience and judges. Also, teams will use a signal to indicate when the movie begins and ends.
Cost limit: $125 USD.

Primary: Wacky Weather Warning 
Grades K-2
Teams will create and present a humorous performance where a meteorologist makes three predictions of “wacky weather”. The meteorologist will speak in rhymes and use a team-created forecasting device and a backdrop that serves as a weather map. The community will “tune in” to get the weather report in any creative way the team wishes.
Cost limit: $125 USD.