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Local districts among winners of regional Odyssey of the Mind challenge

Twenty-eight area schools, from across eight counties, attended the North Central Regional Odyssey of the Mind competition Saturday at Berwick Area School District.

More than 350 students competed on 57 teams at this regional tournament, which is one of six regional tournaments held across the state.

The 28 teams qualified to advance to the statewide competition that will be held April 4 at Lock Haven University.

Teams that qualify at the state tournament will advance to World Finals on May 27 to 30 at Iowa State University.

The teams are typically organized by school, and students are divided based on age: primary, kindergarten through second grade; Division 1, elementary school; Division 2, middle school; and Division 3, high school. Teams have been working for months to prepare for this tournament which is based on innovation, creativity, and teamwork.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international competition that involves teams of up to seven students working on one of five “long-term” problems.

Adults are not able to help the students.

Teams have one or two adults who coach the students and help facilitate meetings but can’t directly influence the students’ work.

The teams present their solution to a panel of judges which will score the teams based on the parameters of the problem.

“Odyssey of the Mind allows the students to develop their creative problem-solving skills while having fun,” said Karyl Otruba, the regional director for North Central PA Odyssey of the Mind.

“Students have the power to apply their knowledge and make their problem solutions come to life in amazing ways.”

Teams are presented with five long-term problems from which to choose. Each team has only eight minutes to perform their solution and must stay within a very small budget so creative use, or reuse, of materials is essential.

Spring Moore, Williamsport School District OM Coordinator, said, “Rarely do kids get to “own” the entire finished product, without adult assistance, but in Odyssey of the Mind, from kindergarten through 12th grade, these kids have the experience of creating a solution in all aspects, from start to finish, totally on their own.

“They problem solve and encourage each other and make memories and friends that will last a lifetime.”

“Participating in Odyssey of the Mind helps students to be actively involved in something that allows them to use problem-solving skills in a very creative way while having fun at the same time.” said Stephanie Trimble, Muncy OM co-coordinator. “Through the process they learn to compromise, work together as a team, and think on their own (without adult input). Kids grow and learn so much through their Odyssey experience.”

This years’ five problems included designing, building, and running a vehicle that can that overcome obstacles and save the world from a pending disaster; Designing and building a team-made network that can transmit an image, a text message, and an email while pop-up ads appear and malware infects the network; Creating and presenting an original performance about one of the world’s greatest detectives and do intellectual battle with a supervillain who wants the detective to fail; Designing, building, and testing a structure made of only balsa wood and glue that have adjustable interconnected parts and must be able to pass under a limbo bar; creating and presenting a humorous performance about a character that presents gibberish ideas that are believed to be genius but are nothing more than gibberish. Primary teams had to create and present a humorous performance that includes a fashion show for insects.

In addition to the long-term challenges, teams are given an additional problem during the spontaneous portion of the competition. Teams enter a room without their coaches, are given a problem by the judges and have between four and eight minutes to solve it with whatever they are given.

“OM has taught me that there is always a new and different way to solve a problem. It has allowed me to broaden my horizons and see the world in a new way. It made me get out of my comfort zone. I have also made some lifelong friends along the way.” said Paige Diabelko, Williamsport High School senior.

All teams placing first and second in all divisions advance to the state tournament. Two third place teams will also advance as wildcards. Primary teams do not participate beyond the regional level.

Teams advancing to the State Tournament are as follows:

• Longshot Solution Division I – First Place Montgomery Area Public Library; Second Place Lewisburg Area Elementary School Team B; Third PlaceDon Gill Elementary School

• Longshot Solution Division II – First Place Loyalsock Middle School; Second Place Rock L Butler Middle School

• Longshot Solution Division III – First Place Wellsboro Area High School

• Net Working Division I – First Place Don Gill Elementary School

• Net Working Division II – First Place Rock L Butler Middle School; Second Place Line Mountain Middle/High School

• Net Working Division III – First Place Line Mountain Middle/High School

• The Effective Detective Division I – First Place Curtin Intermediate School; Second Place Lewisburg Area Elementary School Team B; Third Place Don Gill Elementary School Team A

• The Effective Detective Division II – First Place Donald H Eichhorn Middle School; Second Place Line Mountain Middle/High School

• The Effective Detective Division III – First Place Williamsport Area High School Team B; Second Place Williamsport Area High School Team A

• Balsa Limbo Division I – First Place Montgomery Area Elementary School Team A; Second Place Rock L Butler Middle School

• Balsa Limbo Division II – First Place Montgomery Area Public Library; Second Place Montgomery Area Middle School

• Balsa Limbo Division III – First Place Montgomery Area High School; Second Place Line Mountain Middle/High School

• Gibberish or Not Division I – First Place Curtin Intermediate School; Second Place Ashkar Elementary School

• Gibberish or Not Division II – First Place Danville Middle School; Second Place Williamsport Area Middle School

• Gibberish or Not Division III – First Place Loyalsock High School

In addition to the above teams, also advancing to the State Tournament for being awarded the coveted Ranatra Fusca Award is Balsa Limbo Division II Rock L Butler from Wellsboro.The Ranatra Fusca Award is given to a team for demonstrating outstanding creativity

Full results are available at ncpaodyssey.org. The north central region includes Tioga, Lycoming, Union, Snyder, Sullivan, Columbia, Montour, and Northumberland counties. Information about the northcentral region and Pennsylvania Odyssey of the Mind can be found atwww.paodyssey.com/.

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