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Warwick Odyssey of the Mind information for 2017-18

on October 2, 2017

Welcome to the 2017-18 OotM year! 

Please read through this information carefully, and good luck!

What is Odyssey of the Mind?

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative thinking program that allows seven students to work together as a team without any outside assistance input to solve a problem. 

Teams work from September through March on their solution, presenting at regional, state, or even at the world competition in May.

Team members solve a “Long Term” problem, for which they create, produce, practice, and then present their solution at a competition. 

The problem might be to design a vehicle, build a balsa wood structure, write a song, or design a musical instrument – problems are different each year.  

In addition to the long term problem, the team is also presented at the competition with a “Spontaneous” problem, which they must solve or respond to in a short period of time. Competing and practicing for spontaneous can be fun, and sharpens students’ creative and quick thinking skills. Odyssey Of The Mind (OotM) Team The responsibilities of team members and their parents is far greater than other clubs, and comparable to highly competitive sports teams.

Meetings and competition dates

Students are expected to attend weekly meetings through the fall and early winter. The number of meetings will increase in the months leading up to competition in March. 

All efforts will be made to schedule meetings and practices with as little conflict as possible. Meetings may be scheduled in the evening or on weekends. Students may also be assigned projects (creating costumes, writing scripts, making props, etc.) and will need to obtain materials and complete them at home. The program relies on teamwork, integrity and respect for others. We hold all participants of OotM to high standards of conduct. This includes students, parents and coaches. 

Students must be available for all Saturday competition dates (March 10, 2018 and April 7, 2018). 

If teams place 1st at the Regional competition in March, they will be invited to attend the NY State Finals at Binghamton University in April.

A 1st or 2nd win at the State Finals tournament leads to an invitation to World Finals, at Iowa University, in late May. 

Should a team advance to the World Finals, the trip will be considered a school field trip and your child will attend with the School, District Coordinator and Coach/es. This will include travel, meals and lodging to and from Warwick, NY. 

Please note that parents, although encouraged to attend separately, will not be required to attend and will not be included as part of the school function.

  • March 10, 2018 (snow date March 11) – Regional Tournament  
  • April 7, 2018 – New York State Finals, Binghamton, NY
  • May 23-26, 2018 – World Finals, Iowa State University

Participation on an OotM team is a rewarding experience for students and parents – but it does require a huge time and energy commitment. It is important to understand that students who are named to an OotM team cannot be replaced if they drop out, and the team will be negatively impacted for the year if a student decides to leave the team.

Parent Information

Parents play an important role in support of the team. The OotM tournaments are staffed by team-required volunteers, and it is imperative that parents be willing to volunteer so that the team does not incur a penalty. Therefore, parents must be willing to either volunteer at the regional competition or to find someone who will attend as a representative for the team. This requirement is minimal, and will never result in missing a child’s performance.

Parents are also vitally important to the fundraising efforts of our team. Teams that place first or second at the NY State Tournament in May are invited to present their solution at World Finals. To prepare for the possibility that teams from our district may advance to World Finals, students who are part of an OotM team are strongly encouraged to participate in fundraising efforts. 

OotM Tryouts

Each year begins a new selection process, and teams are selected/formed from the available pool of students at the tryout based on their participation and input at tryout. 

As a clarification, students who have participated on an OotM team in the past are not guaranteed a spot for the current year’s teams, and will be scored and critiqued in the same way as a new participant.

Tryout Dates:

  • Thursday, October 12 
    5:00-6:30 pm
    Division I – 3rd through 5th grade
  • Tuesday, October 10 
    6:00-7:30 pm 
    Division II – 6th through 8th grade 
    Division III – 9th through 12th grade 

Location – Tryouts are held downstairs in the former Kings School Building, 199 Kings Highway, Warwick. 

The tryout is an audition process. It is mandatory that all students attend their grade-specific tryout date in order to be considered for an Odyssey team.

Those who competed in previous years MUST audition. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of spots, so some students may not be placed on a team.  

Primary Teams (Grades K-2)

If you’re interested in joining the 2nd grade for a Primary team (grades K-2), please contact Donna Denny, Coordinator/Advisor at

If you’re interested in coaching a Primary team (grades K-2), please contact Donna Denny, Coordinator/Advisor at

Selection Process

Selections for the teams are based on results gathered from several different activities that students participate in during tryouts.

No fewer than four coaches/teachers will be on hand to observe students as they participate in verbal and spontaneous hands-on problems.

During verbal problems, responses are ranked as either creative or common, just like competition.
During hands-on problems, students are observed to watch their interaction with their peers, leadership qualities and creative problem solving abilities.

In addition, students complete an individual project that highlights their artistic talents and ability to think outside the box. 

Dramatic improvisation and other activities help coaches gain an insight about their individual strengths, interests and willingness to compromise with others to work toward a common goal.

After the tryouts, coaches convene with their independently gathered notes to compare scores, observations, and insights.

Then begins the difficult decision-making process, as coaches try to build teams of seven students each who will both complement and challenge each other as they work together to solve a problem.

Successful teams must be formed to include students with abilities in different areas. For example, a team would not work well with seven writers and no one to perform on stage, paint backdrops or sew costumes.

Student Sign Up Form – 3 pages

Odyssey of the Mind 2017-18 – Student Sign Up Form

*If you have difficulty accessing this document, please email Donna Denny at, who can provide the document in an alternative format.


Odyssey of the Mind coaches needed!

Under the guidance of a coach, teams of five to seven students are encouraged to explore many possible answers and to be creative in finding a solution.

Because there are no wrong solutions, teams are free to take calculated risks in attempting to solving the problem while finding innovative solutions to a variety of technical and performance problems.

What is the role of a COACH?

  • Scheduler (how often, and where, team meets)
  • Facilitator (helps the team stay organized):
    – determine goals and the path to reach them
    – helps them read and understand the problem
    – helps team keep track of tasks and deadlines
    – takes notes (remind them of their previous ideas)
    – leads brainstorming sessions (without injecting ideas)
    – explains scoring
    – brings in “experts” to discuss & teach skills
  • Teach basic skills
  • Asks QUESTIONS (to help team focus, open-ended)
  • Assists team in developing a timeline for projects
  • Spontaneous practice (practice often, variety, strategies)
  • Forms (helps Division I teams fill out forms)

Division 1: grades 3-5
Division 2: grades 6-8
Division 3: grades 9-12

If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact Donna Denny at


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