Simpson Elementary Kids Heading to Iowa for Odyssey of the Mind World Championship

Comments (1) Education, Featured, School, Simspon Elementary School

Simpson Elementary - Odyssey of the Mind

Our kids are smart in many areas of study, and they’re proving it! They’ve already won the regionals in February and the Georgia State competition in early April. Now, they will seek to prove their creativity and critical thinking skills next month in the World Championship.

You can do your part by donating through GoFundMe – help them raise the $8,000 needed to get the team there.

What is Odyssey of the Mind?

Odyssey of the Mind, or OotM for short, teaches students to solve problems creatively in a team-based competitive format. Every year, all of the teams are given long-term problems to solve with certain criteria that they must include in their solution.

To present the answer to the problem, team members have to work together to write a script, create the costumes, the stage, and the props for the play, and perform it in front of an audience. In the words of the team, “it’s a great combination of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) with the arts (STEAM)! It also requires a lot of teamwork and good communication.”

What are the Problems to Solve?

Teams can choose which problems they want to solve. This year, for example, they could have chosen to design new vehicles or tell the story of a maturing emoji. They could have retold a classic story or designed animal models out of balsa wood. Some teams designed an Intergalactic Hangout where they could talk with other races while some planned and acted out an original cooking show.

They also have to solve spontaneous problems in situations that they haven’t prepared for. This portion of the competition teaches them to think quickly and cooperatively under pressure with materials at hand.

Who is the Team?

The team consists of seven students from Simpson Elementary and their volunteer coaches. Though formed as a school team, Odyssey of the Mind is completely extra-curricular. The team uses no school supplies for their project and do not even meet on school grounds. The program is supported by volunteer hours and family funding.

In the words of volunteer parent coach Lisa Dommert: “I feel so lucky to have been able to coach such an amazing group of bright and talented kids. They’ve put in countless hours preparing for Odyssey using their creativity and “outside the box” thinking. It’s been so rewarding to see their hard work culminate in an opportunity to compete against teams from around the country and across the world.”

Who’s the Competition?

OotM has programs for children staring in kindergarten all the way through college. It was founded in 1978 at Rowan University. At the World Championship this year, our students will be competing against teams from all over the US as well as Argentina and Australia, Canada and China, Mexico and Moldova, the UK and Uzbekistan, and everywhere in between.

It was started under the name “Olympics of the Mind” and we can certainly see why. It’s very exciting to see our own students competing on such a global scale.

Simpson Elementary - Odyssey of the Mind

From One of the Students

One of our Gwinnett County 5th grade students wonders if you know of any organizations that might like to see her team’s performance before they leave for Iowa. As you read her letter, you’ll see how excited she is about her team’s project and the Odyssey of the Mind competition.

“My name is Ellie. I’m a fifth-grade student. Six other students and I placed first place in our division at the State Odyssey of the Mind competition.

“We have qualified to compete at World Finals in Iowa. We did a fantastic job and ended up with the highest scores in all three areas: Long Term, Style, and Spontaneous. Some of our scores even beat high school students’ scores.

“There is a $3000 registration fee to compete in World Finals in addition to food, lodging and travel. Our team is brainstorming ideas to raise funds and are hoping you can help.

“We also hope to spread the word about Odyssey of the Mind to encourage other children in the area to participate.

“As part of the competition, we have worked hard for months to create a skit that meets certain criteria. We wrote the script and made the costumes and props without any outside help (not even from parents and coaches).

“Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving program that engages students in their learning by allowing their knowledge and ideas to come to life in an exciting, productive environment.”

Show Your Support

The World Championship takes place May 23-27. The team would like to have all donations in by May 12th so that they can finalize their arrangements and plans.

As the team writes, “It is an honor to be one of the teams from all over the world that will be competing at the World Finals and to represent Gwinnett County Schools and the state of Georgia! We sincerely appreciate any assistance, large or small, that you can provide as we prepare to make the long trek from Georgia to Iowa! Thank you!”

After their regional and state accomplishment, let’s encourage them as they represent Gwinnett County on a global scale.

You can do your part by donating through GoFundMe – help them raise the $8,000 needed to get the team there.

Learn more about Odyssey of the Mind. Stay tuned to hear about how our Gwinnett County kids do in Iowa.


In the featured image above; “Simpson Elementary fifth graders, winners in their division at Odyssey of the Mind state championship. L to R,  Addie, Briggs, Claire, Ellie, Emma, Kylie, and Sophie.”


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One Response to Simpson Elementary Kids Heading to Iowa for Odyssey of the Mind World Championship

  1. Tamara says:

    Congratulations to the team! Simpson Elementary’s OotM team are now World Champions!! The team won First Place for their problem and topping 71 other teams at the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals on May 26, 2018.

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