Odyssey of the Mind Teams Finish Strong at Worlds

EAST LANSING, Michigan – Glebe Elementary School’s Odyssey of the Mind teams had strong finishes in this past week’s OoTM World Finals competition at Michigan State University, with one of Glebe’s all-girl fifth grade teams taking fourth place in the world in the “technical” engineering problem #2 competition for elementary school aged students. A second all-girl fifth grade team from Glebe also had a strong finish of 21st place in the “classics” problem division, which included  74 teams from all over the world. The Glebe students had to re-interpret Leonardo da Vinci artworks and inventions in an original and humorous theatrical piece. APS also had a third team to attend World Finals this year. The team from Long Branch Elementary School placed 29th in the vehicle engineering problem.

In order to place fourth, Glebe’s technical team — ages 11 to 12 — presented an 8-minute original sketch about a battle between opposing chess pieces that included the construction of a king piece that could change shape several ways in order to hide from the queen on the opposing side. The girls used both simple mechanical engineering, Scratch coding, circuits, and thermochromic paint in their solution, as well as choreographed a dance, built a set, and designed costumes that changed from black and white to rainbow colors at the end. Glebe’s technical team also won first in the “spontaneous” competition, which is part of the overall scoring. In that competition, the girls competed against 58 teams from all over the world. The question is given to the teams when they enter a room. They had to use materials including notecards, straws, wooden dowels, and other items, to try to build a suspended structure between cans that were placed all over a room. The team used their creative thinking and teamwork skills to engineer structures with the materials to connect the most cans, winning the challenge. Students who competed on the technical team for Glebe were Zella Mantler, Audrey Ferguson, Kaitlyn Nowinski, Maddie Brown, Nora Johnson, Katie Martin, and Buse Arici. (Pictured in the black/white costumes, when their names were announced at the closing ceremonies, and in blue shirts.)

Students who competed on the classics team for Glebe for Kaitlin Madison, Audrey Brown, Grace Christensen, Emily Buckwalter, Annika Matsko, Helen Maag, and Molly Ryan. (Pictured in blue shirts with our Glebe elementary / Arlington, VA USA hats by a tree.)

In addition to the student competition, the girls and their coaches and parents performed a sketch in the “coaches and officials competition” that won first place. The sketch, titled “HERstory” was about women empowering women, moving through history to take a “giant leap forward” in each generation. The sketch followed a character who changed costume multiple times, transforming from a 19th century woman to a nurse, from Rosie the Riveter to a college graduate, from an Odyssey coach to an astronaut, and finally, into a future woman President of the United States. The students on both of Glebe’s teams were coached by Christina Headrick, Deb Ryan, Emer Johnson, and Elaine Maag, who worked on the winning sketch with the girls along with parents Elizabeth Nowinski, Vicki Phillips, and Heather Brown. (Several pictures included of our winning coaches’ competition sketch team, which combined everyone who represented Glebe at World Finals.)