From the press release:
Saturday’s WNC Odyssey of the Mind tournament demonstrated that toilet plungers, balloon animals and break dancing can all be part of the learning process. This could be observed firsthand as Asheville Homeschool’s Odyssey of the Mind Division II teams placed in the competition at Enka High.
The Weird Science Team won 2nd place, and the Oh-Motional Vehicle team won 3rd place, qualifying them to go on to the next level of competition – the State tournament, to be held in Wingate, NC on March 31st. The students have been working together on the problems since October.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Since 1978 team members have been applying their creativity to solving problems that range from building cars that show emotion (as in Ooh-Motional) to presenting their own interpretation of NASA earth observatory photography (as in Weird Science). Thousands of teams from around the U.S. and 25 other countries participate. They all have the same five problems to choose from, but their solutions are surprisingly diverse.
Along the way students develop teamwork skills, practice evaluating ideas, making decisions, and working within a budget. They see that there is more than one way to solve a problem, and that sometimes the process is more important than the end result. These are skills that will last a lifetime.
Homeschoolers’ tendency to think outside of the box lends itself to solving these competitive problems in unusual ways.
The Ooh-Motional problem required the team of 7 middle schoolers to design, build, and drive a vehicle on a course where it encountered situations that provoked different human emotions. The homeschool team’s skit included break dancing, “Occupy” protest signs, a gorilla protesting gorilla glue, and a hamster wheel. Their car was supposed to be powered by toilet plungers but ran into suction problems on the gym floor.
The Weird Science team of 5 middle schoolers used photographs from NASA’s Earth Observatory to create a skit where they investigated a phytoplankton bloom off the coast of Namibia. The strange color turned out to be the runoff from a “My Little Pony” obsessed evil scientist’s lab. Their cardboard backdrop ingeniusly folded into 3 different scenes, origami style (proving once again that duct tape is an OM team’s best friend).
The Asheville Homeschool teams have already started fundraising to cover the costs of getting to the State competition. They have six different ways you can support them listed on their webpage http://www.ahcom.org/. Please help out!