LEMS students compete in Odyssey of the

by Sharon Emerling

Each year, young people come together to compete to see who has the best mind at the annual Odyssey of the Mind Competition. 

This year, Landstuhl Elementary/Middle School hosted the Kaiserslautern District Program. Event Coordinator Katie George said, “This is so good for the kids. They really put forth a lot of effort and work hard and do a great job. It’s a pleasure to be here.”

Fourteen teams of students from grades four to eight competed.
According to the Odyssey of the Mind Web site, there are two major categories in Odyssey of the Mind: Long-Term Problems and Spontaneous Problems.
The Long-Term Problems are solved over the course of weeks or months in small groups of students.  They involve many requirements, but are open to interpretation by each group. Long-Term problems are scored by a panel of judges, with each judge keeping track of a specific element of the performance.

Keith Wright, LEMS fifth-grader and member of the first place team, said his Long-Term Project, Earth Trek, “was challenging and really interesting. We had a lot of ideas at the start, and then had to decide which was best and get going on solving the problem.”

The Spontaneous Problems are similar to brain teasers and are presented to student groups in short, timed sessions. Students have not seen these specific Spontaneous Problems before the day of the tournament. They are rewarded points from a panel of judges based on their quick thinking and creative answers.

Fifth-grader Berek Ha said he was quite pleased with his team’s performance at the Spontaneous Problems.

“I can’t tell you exactly what the problem was. We are sworn to secrecy. No one can know what they asked us and how we answered. I can only say that we did very well,” he said.

At the end of the day, all 14 teams were recognized for their work and good sportsmanship. Some of the teams will move on to the European level next month. Best wishes to all of them!