Odyssey of the Mind Program

What is Odyssey of the Mind?
Odyssey of the Mind is a non-profit, international creative problem-solving program for students, Kindergarten through College! The philosophy behind the Odyssey of the Mind program is that creativity can be learned. Open-ended problems cover many disciplines such as classics, performance, vehicle, structure, and technical. All solutions are done entirely by team members and outside assistance is not allowed! Students learn lifelong skills such as teamwork, project management and divergent thinking. Students learn to examine problems and identify the real challenge without limiting the possible solutions and their potential success. In Odyssey of the Mind there are no wrong answers! Learn more here: Learn More!

Thousands of teams composed of students from throughout the U.S. and around the world participate in the program. In Odyssey of the Mind, teams of 5 to 7 students use imagination and innovation to invent solutions to challenging problems and present their solutions at competition. Teams are organized in divisions based upon grade level. There is also a non-competitive Primary problem designed to introduce very young students to creative problem solving. Each team chooses one of 6 problems which range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics.

Teams take their solutions to a tournament on a state and World level. Participating in a tournament encourages teams to work at their full potential, gives them an opportunity to showcase their solutions and exposes them to the ideas of others. There are three elements to the competition:

Primary teams (grades K-2) are non-competitive but each team also participates in the tournament in each of the three elements. Although the Primary problem is designed to introduce the youngest participants to the program, children in grades K-2 can elect to be on a competitive Division I team instead.

What do the Problems look like?

Problem Synopses

Why join Odyssey of the Mind?

Who can participate?

Students of all ages are eligible to participate. School or community organizations purchase a membership and form teams. Teams may have up to seven members. Teams are organized into Divisions based upon grade level. The team's division is determined by the team member in the highest grade.

What is a membership?

A membership can be a school, club, church, local community organization, local home school group or a college or university. Only one membership is needed to have multiple teams. With ONE membership, you can have (5) competitive teams (one team in each of the problems) per division AND an UNLIMITED number of non-competitive Primary teams at the tournament. Teams are organized in divisions based upon grade level. The non-competitive Primary problem is designed to introduce very young students to creative problem-solving. Membership purchase gives schools and community groups access to the 5 long term problems and the primary problem

For example, consider a school of grades K-6. This membership could enter a total of ten teams in competition--five in Division I and five in Division II--AND as many non-competitive K-2 Primary teams as desired and only needs to purchase a single membership for $135. A school with grades K-5 can enter 5 teams in Division I (one per problem) AND as many non-competitive Primary (K-2) teams as desired.

Local homeschool and community groups may enter one team per problem in each division and an unlimited number of primary teams in the tournament with a single $135 membership.

If a school or community group would like to have more than one team in the same problem within the same division, there are discounts for an "add-on" membership. There are even more discounts in the membership price for multiple schools within a school district.

What does it cost?

Each school or community group must purchase a membership for access to the long term problems and prior to signing up teams for the tournament. The grade levels in a school determine how many divisions there are under that particular membership. A membership costs $135 and allows 5 competitive teams (one per problem) in each of the 3 divisions PLUS an UNLIMITED number of Primary teams at the tournament.

In addition, there is a small state fee per team to participate in the tournament. The state fee/team is ONLY $10 if they sign up by January 31st! The online team registration date for the tournament determines the team fee as follows:

Some typical membership cost scenarios:
Coaches trainings, judges training, and support services are FREE!

How did OotM get started?

Odyssey of the Mind is the original creative problem solving program, the highest quality one, and the largest and most successful one worldwide!

It was founded more than 30 years ago by Dr. Sam Miklus. Learn More! Odyssey of the Mind has been active in Wisconsin since 1982! It is offered by Creativity Unlimited in Wisconsin, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization run by dedicated volunteers. Creativity Unlimited in Wisconsin has a simple goal: to ensure that schools and organizations of all sizes, serving youth of all income levels, have an equal opportunity to participate. How do we accomplish this? By ensuring that Odyssey of the Mind is the most cost effective creative problem solving program available in Wisconsin!

How do I get started?

Do you want to help?

Wisconsin Odyssey of the Mind is administered 100% by volunteers. This program cannot function without volunteer help and support and we are always looking for people to volunteer. Become a competition judge or volunteer to help in various ways on the day of the competition. Trainings will be provided in various locations around the state. Dates are on the calendar. Go to the Judges and Volunteers area to sign up.