— About 700 local students will put their creativity to the test at the Northeast Pennsylvania Odyssey of the Mind regional tournament.
More than 100 teams from 40 area K-12 schools will go head to head on March 9.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving program. Teams of up to seven students receive a "long-term" problem at the beginning of the school year that they must solve in an eight-minute performance within a small budget.
“It’s a fantastic program that pushes children to think outside the box while exercising skills across every academic and artistic discipline,” said Ryan Balton, regional public relations director. “The acting, writing, engineering, scenery, costumes – all aspects of the solution are completely original creations of the students. It’s exciting to see what they come up with.”
This year’s long-term problems range from creating a musical performance about a classical architectural work to building a vehicle to transport parts of a team-created robot pet that performs tricks.
Teams also receive a secret "spontaneous" problem the day of competition, which they must solve on the spot.
The NEPA regional tournament will be held at Pocono Mountain West High School in Pocono Summit for the fifth year in a row.
“We wish all the teams competing the best of luck, and we’re indebted to the Pocono Mountain School District and hundreds of volunteers who make our program possible,” Balton said.
Winners at the regional tournament will advance to state finals, at the Pocono Mountain East Campus in April. Those state finalists will compete to advance to World Finals at Michigan State University in May. Five teams from northeast Pennsylvania advanced to World Finals last year.
“Our area has some of the best OMERs in the world every year,” Balton said. “The competition is more impressive than ever.”
The northeast region includes Bradford, Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties.
On the Web:
NEPA Odyssey of the Mind – www.nepaootm.com
PA Odyssey of the Mind – www.paodyssey.com
Odyssey of the Mind International – www.odysseyofthemind.com