Odyssey of the Mind Places First at Regionals

Some very serious minds created a very silly machine

Ceejay Jacobs, Staff Writer

February 18th marked the day Edgewood’s Odyssey of the Mind Team blew others away with their brilliant problem-solving, creativity, and collaboration skills. The team consisted of Ainara Bengoa, Daniel DeVries, Thomas Thering, Clarice Hafizi, Kyle Sampson, and Everett Turner. Odyssey of the Mind is a two-part event involving the use of creativity and logistics. One event involves the creation of an invention to solve a long-term issue. Teams brainstorm and create their solutions to show its effectiveness in a performance. Performances include skits, props, and costumes, to show the framework of their solution. Another event called, “Spontaneous,” relies on creative and comical solutions to a problem.

Our team won first place in their division at regionals with creative and comical responses in the Spontaneous event, but also for an interesting Rube Goldberg machine, which delivers candy to kids in a fun way. These types of machines take a simple task and create a complicated solution using a chain reaction. They created the Candy Aid machine, ultimately catapulting candy towards the kids. Marbles would be placed on an angled platform, slowly rolling into a small bucket. On its way, the marbles would hit a cowbell multiple times to attract kids over to the contraption. The added weight in the bucket would act as pulley and lift another bucket filled with candy. There are two strings attached to the candy bucket. One string is attached to Velcro at the bottom of the structure, while the other string is attached to a catapult filled with candy. Once the Velcro has been ripped apart from the weight of the marbles in the bucket, the catapult string would trigger and fling candy towards the kids.

The Candy Aid made its debut in an amusing skit made in the land of Willy Wonka. The skit used colorful and creative props such as gumball dispenser costumes and a chocolate bunny anatomy sign. The scene starts off in the Lolli and Pops Candy Store where the owners plead for kids to come to their shop. When the owners got desperate, they visited their local inventor for any machine capable of attracting kids to their store. The inventor had once lived an evil life, however, he has changed for the better in order to bring joy and candy to the world. He presents them with the Candy Aid. The owners test out this odd machine with a kid sitting on the corner of Willy Avenue and Wonka Way. She becomes so thrilled and promises to bring all of her friends to Lolli and Pops. The business lives on to become successful, ending with the iconic Odyssey of the Mind conclusion, “Thank you for helping us just in time.”

After our team’s superb performance, they began the Spontaneous event. The team reached a private classroom with 49 chips scattered around a table and would be given a problem. It’s up to the team to think of solutions to the problem in comical and creative ways. Whenever a group member had a solution in mind, the person would place a chip inside a jar and tell the judges their idea. Normal solutions would result in 1 point, comical solutions would result in 3 points, and creative solutions would be the best answers, netting 5 points. A combination of creative and amusing thinking and collaboration skills led the team to triumph.

However, perfection doesn’t come automatically, but through brainstorming and creative problem-solving. The Candy Aid had many design issues which would have proved concerning without proper readjustments.

“Funnels were half-hazardly taped to the structure and seemed to be in the right way, [however] at times, the marbles wouldn’t roll at all… our design [seemed to be] faulty and we were relying on Daniel to try and fix it,” Turner said.

“We had to position everything just right with our limited tools, [for example,] the Velcro can’t be too sticky, all of the platforms must be angled just right so that the marbles [would] roll fast enough, yet reach the bucket with the right amount of force. Every time we would practice, we would reposition everything, every single time,” Bengoa says.

Creativity isn’t always about the concept, but the execution of an idea. Problem-solving involves answering the long-term issue and engineering the idea towards perfection. This is the major difference between a good idea and a great idea. It’s difficult to come up with a creative idea, yet to maintain such high standards is why our Odyssey of the Mind team placed first.

“Odyssey of the Mind builds problem solving and relationship skills for jobs, but in a fun way,” Bengoa said.

“Building designs is very cool and is a way to make your mind work that other curriculars cannot. There are millions of things you can do on the Odyssey of the Mind team. The experience you have is something you can’t find anywhere else,” Turner says.

Odyssey of the Mind gives the opportunity for brilliant thinkers to show off their crazy ideas to the world in a fun environment. It’s a learning experience for everyone and a chance to work with some unfamiliar faces. Having fun is a priority, especially with friends designing skits to put on a show. Odyssey of the Mind is the perfect team to join if you’re willing to make crazy inventions and performances with your friends by your side.

Our Odyssey of the Mind team heads off to the Florida State Tournament on April 8th to amaze more crowds. Edgewood wishes them the best of luck and the hopes of qualifying for the world competition at Michigan State University.