Odyssey of the Mind is a school-based, international program that promotes creative problem solving for students from kindergarten through college. Each year, five new competitive problems are presented. Some of the problems are more technical in nature (such as building a vehicle that has to overcome several challenges, designing/building and operating a robot, or building a structure made of only balsa wood and glue which has to hold weights), while others are artistic or performance based. We believe that the position of a Volunteer Judge could be quite interesting for the engineering community.
Under the guidance of a coach, teams of five to seven students work on solving these long-term problems. They learn creative thinking and problem solving skills while finding innovative solutions. The "grand finale" comes in form of two tournaments in the spring, where trained judges evaluate and applaud the team's solutions. Those judges are the "heart" of our competitions. It's amazing to see the creative problem solutions students come up with after spending weeks and months working on their problem.Long-Term-Problems are quite complex, and often seem almost overwhelming to children at the very beginning, but seeing the final products and learning more about the problem solving process through interaction with the team is something that makes it so interesting and exciting for our judges - one of the reasons why many judges come back to volunteer year after year. Without this dedicated group of volunteers, there could be no Odyssey of the Mind!
What is Involved? Judges serve in two roles – to evaluate the teams problem solution and to encourage and applaud the team’s creative problem solving efforts – regardless of whether or not they succeed in every aspect of the solution. Judges are needed for two areas of competition: Long Term and Spontaneous. In Long Term, judges work with a team of 3-6 people to assess the problem solution that the teams have prepared. How creative is the vehicles propulsion? Did they complete all aspects of the performance? How much weight did the structure hold? You will need to make yourself familiar with the rules/scoring of any ONE of the Long Term problems (provided at training). In Spontaneous, judges work with a team of two or three judges to evaluate a team’s response to either a verbal or hands-on problem. (e.g. Name ways to hide an elephant. Using only the materials given, how high a structure can you build?) Teams do not know what the problem will be until it is explained by the judges. Spontaneous judges don’t have as many rules/procedures to learn as Long Term judges, but they have to be prepared for ANYTHING that our creative thinking teams might throw back at them!
What is the Time Commitment? Judges are needed at the Provincial Tournament on April 7th, and at the Qualifying Tournament on March 3rd (8 am to 5 pm). All judges are required to attend a training session on February 17th. Catered lunch, snacks and refreshments will be provided at no cost. Tournaments will be held at Burnaby North Secondary School, location for the training TBA.
How to register: Online via Odyssey BC Registrations
Deadline to register: January 31, 2018