Last weekend was an awesome one for us.
My kids particpate in a creative, problem-solving program sponsored by the school’ s PTA . Odyssey of the mind is wonderful for the kids to not only challenge their creative thinking but also develop team-building skills and to become good reflexive out-of-the-box thinkers.
I heard about it first almost 5 years ago, and had to wait patiently till last year when they switched schools and the PTA approved of the program.
Being a coach is at once both exhilarating as well as a stressful role. The time factor is again another issue, and I was ready to give up on the whole exercise as the tournament date grew near. All coaches go through that state a week before the final date, but magically it disappears and we start planning for the next year the moment we see our kids do a fantastic job on stage. It’s a moment of pride, laughter and achievement of all the hard work, and brain-storming they’ve put in over 4 months.
It was especially sweet to me this year, as I coordinated the whole program, and also coached my son’s team along with a Mr.Kim. Handling energetic 9 year olds, and holding their attention for hours at end was not as hard as how the problem is solved. Think of it as “Apprentice” for kids but with a creative twist to it. …and that’s just the long-term problem they solve. The rules say they should not accept help whatsoever from anyone at all. They figure out the problem themselves, come up with solutions, decide on roles, props, and put up a fantastic performance within the time limit set.
They also have a spontaneous competition, wherein when asked with a question similar to this, they have a minute to think, and have 3 minutes to rapid-fire answers. If 1 team member is stuck for an answer the whole team is stuck! Talk about frustration. The more hilarious and creative the answers the more they score. Now that requires a fair amount of practice, and ideas. The thought-process needs to be channeled so the team members are quick on their thinking, and the race is on to gather as much points as possible.
This year’s problems – they get to decide and vote [democracy rules!] on 1 – are here. Region 13 alone had 120 teams particpate that day.
My daughter’s team won 1st place in their division. It was a hard-earned one and am so proud of her and the rest. They clean-sweeped the scores and left teh 2nd rankers almost 50 points behind them. The team designed, built and made a vehicle that moves around, picks up stuff and transfers them from place to place, while they had to incorporate the whole transfer in a performance. They go on to the state finals in April.
My son’s team worked on a performance wherein a bloke solves problems for animals of a select jungle -they chose Amazon basin. They chose deforestation, endangered animals and performed a dance and song – written by themselves. The team had a blast through the whole time and that matters a whole lot. Each had something to offer and that is what OM is all about.
Yoohoo! Can you tell am excited :-) haha