Odyssey of the Mind – Friday Sampler

Geek Culture

We attended a selection of Middle School competitions today at the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals here in East Lansing.

First I should tell you that the Balsa record set yesterday was broken when the team from Valley Springs Middle School in Arden, NC build a structure weighing 18 grams that supported 1220 pounds. No high school team risen above the 1000 mark so far this competition, but tomorrow at 10:33 the high school fed by Valley Springs, T. C. Roberson in Asheville, will be weighing in. We missed the Arden team but here is a close up of the Edison, NJ (Victor Ho, Bryon Le, and Jerry He) team’s structure as it began to buckle at 740 pounds.


We saw an extraordinary performance by the buddy team from Fushan Jiujiang Town Middle School of Guangdong, China at "Tag ’em." This problem involved small vehicles traveling independently across a "Transfer Zone" pausing as different payloads were dropped into the vehicle from distant crane then delivering the treasure to a Home square. The payloads were then sorted into bins. The detail in the sets was matched by the ingenuity of the vehicle and crane builders. The whole team was elaborately costumed and danced their skit as a kind of ballet.



Our team had some tough competition in the "Large and Small of It." In the pictures below, the team from Pinetops, NC created a travelogue of their state with ghost stories at every stop from the mountain to the sea. Their small paper mechanics pages changed exactly like their detailed larger counterparts. And at the finale their quiet pet became an inflated pillow spewing confetti on the stage.


The hovercraft that delivered Rat Man from his isolated existence a Wishing Well was put to good final use as a pleasure craft for one of the team’s coaches. Then the teams celebrated by sharing gingerbread baked in Poland, added to a costume and flown the Michigan for the competition. The rest is in the dumpster — except for recyclables of course.


(photos: Balsa –  Keith V. Thomas, Others this post Sally Greene)

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