Two St. John Neumann Odyssey of the Mind teams qualify for World Finals

Two St. John Neumann Odyssey of the Mind teams that competed in the Pennsylvania Odyssey of the Mind State Finals tournament at Berwick Area School District on April 12 qualified to advance to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals competition at Iowa State University in late May. Both teams placed first in the state.

The elementary school (students in grades three and four) team solved the problem, “The Not-So-Haunted House.” The team’s problem was to create and present an original performance that included a “pop-up-style” not-so-haunted house where four special effects take place. The intent of the special effects was to scare others, but they produced a different result instead. The performance included two characters that experienced the special effects and a narrator who relayed the experiences to the audience. It also included a surprise ending. The special effects were scored for originality and engineering.

The high school team (students in grades eight, nine and 11) solved the problem, “Driver’s Test.” For this problem, the team designed, built and drove a vehicle that travelled a course where a student driver attempted to complete tasks in order to pass a driver’s test. The vehicle travelled forward using one propulsion system and in reverse using a different propulsion system. The vehicle encountered a directional signal and had a Global Positioning System (GPS) that talked to the driver. The team created a theme for the presentation that incorporated the vehicle, a driver’s test, a student and the talking GPS.

Students from around the world will compete in the 35th Annual Odyssey of the Mind (OotM) World Finals in Iowa next month. This competition emphasizes creativity and teamwork. It has grown into a huge event because OotM makes learning fun while giving kids the chance to explore their imaginations and express their creativity.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program whose mission is to provide creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Through solving open-ended problems, students develop creative-thinking skills that can be applied to real-life situations. Teams from throughout the U.S. and more than 20 other countries participate in the program.

St. John Neumann Regional Academy has qualified for the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals for eleven of the past twelve years.

The academy has numerous top three finishes at the world level, and has one of the most successful Odyssey of the Mind programs in the state.