Odyssey of the Mind

  • Region 15 Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that empowers youngsters to think creatively to solve problems within a competitive setting. This competition involves both long-term and spontaneous problems. While the long-term problems are presented to the teams prior to the competition date, the students receive spontaneous problems on the date of the event to challenge their ability to “think on their feet.” Teams earn up to 50 points for the long-term problem on the basis of the quality of the solution and style. For the spontaneous problem, teams are awarded points for originality, fluency, and elaboration of their solution. High-ranking teams may have the opportunity to compete at the state and world levels. The CoSer for this program is 540.000.


  • Students in grades 3-12.

The Long Term Problem (200 Points):

  • The solutions to these problems may seem simple, but they require a great deal of work. Many teams work for three to four months to prepare their solutions. Some problems are technical in nature, while others are more dramatic; others combine both technical and dramatic components. Regardless, all problems are open-ended, thus allowing unlimited, divergent solutions. For more information, check out the website at www.odysseyofthemind.com or www.nysoma.org.

The Spontaneous Problem (100 Points):

  •  Each Odyssey of the Mind team participating in a tournament must solve a spontaneous problem. These problems will be presented on the day of the tournament in one of three ways: verbal, hands-on or a combination of the two, verbal/hands-on. If given a verbal problem, teams generate as many creative verbal responses as they can in a short time period. For hands-on problems, teams must solve a technical or physical problem. In the verbal/hands-on, a physical object is manipulated in sequence by the team members as they deliver creative verbal responses. Although only five of the team member participate in this section of the competition, all members should be present.

Odyssey of the Mind is committed to:

    • Providing opportunities for children to develop creative thinking skills.
    • Encouraging the development of cooperation, self-respect, and the appreciation and understanding of others.
    • Helping children develop creative problem-solving skills to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.      
    • Creating experiences that develop essential life/survival skills.