LEMS Odyssey of the Mind team wins state, heads to world finals

Sharon Emerling
LEMS teacher

***image1***Team needs $10,000 to attend games in U.S.

Dressed like pirates, fourth and fifth-graders from Landstuhl Elementary and Middle School sailed into a first-place win in the Department of Defense Dependent Schools’ Odyssey of the Mind contest, in Garmisch, Germany.
The team, “Tech Transfer,” built a boat from a coffin and added extendable arms and an electromagnet, which enabled the team members to move objects from one place to another.

Now, the team is heading to the 2006 world finals May 24 in Ames, Iowa. Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that challenges students from kindergarten through college to solve problems using both technical and artistic skills.

Landstuhl school sent three teams to the Division I Europe-DODDS competition March 3. Each team chose one problem, from a list of five, to solve, and worked together to find a creative solution.

Karen Boonstra, middle school talented and gifted art teacher and “Tech Transfer” team sponsor, said the team presented an original performance that included using a technical device that extended into different areas to move items. Students prepared for the contest by coming in at lunch time, after school and on snow days.

“It was really interesting to see how differently each team worked on the problems,” said Grace Katzenson, fifth-grader. “We built a boat and used electromagnets, but the others used vacuums and other things to work it out ? things we never even thought of.”

Another team, sponsored by fifth-grade teacher Will Nelson, took second place for its performance. The team, fifth-graders Kristi Carrigan, Shelby Moncur, Jessie Burckel, Lorilei Habig, Natasha Harris, and fourth-graders William Ritter and Ben Howe, chose “The Great Parade” problem.
“Our team had to design a vehicle that would be used as three different floats in a parade,” said student Shelby Moncur. “In our case, a fishing boat, then a shark, then a yellow submarine.”

Fifth-grader Hailey Reneau said, “It was also really special for our team to receive the OMER award.”

The award, given to recognize creativity and teamwork, is not given every year.

“It sure speaks volumes about our kids,” Mr. Nelson said.
The third team, “Jungle Bloke,” worked with student teacher Jason Beyer, included fourth-graders Cameron Hanson, Cassie Izumi, and fifth-graders Catelynn Curnutt, Shelby Keith, Frank Spatt, Megan Mullen and Noelle Morse.
They chose to perform about a “Bloke” who has the ability to talk with and understand animals from a jungle.

“I am so glad I had the opportunity to work with these kids,” Mr. Beyer said. “I am so impressed with how hard they worked and how willing they were to put in lots of hours of extra time and effort.”

Team “Tech Transfer” must raise about $10,000 to attend the world finals in Iowa. Anyone wishing to contribute to the effort may contact Will Nelson at william.nelson@edu.dodea.edu for details.