This Year's Problems
Each year Odyssey of the Mind provides five competitive long-term problems. Teams choose the one "long term problem" they wish to solve and present in competition against other teams in the same grade range. Long-term problems require teams to begin preparing their solutions weeks or months before competition. Each problem includes one or more objectives, a set of limitations and requirements, and specific scoring categories. The problems offered are different each year, and the requirements and limitations change, but the types of problems remain unchanged from year to year: Vehicle, Technical, Classics, Structure and Performance. Check out the general information about the 2020-2021 problems
Problem 1: Vehicle OMer the rOMer
Teams will design and build a ride-on vehicle that takes a character on an adventure in search of humor. The vehicle will use stored energy as it is propelled forward and in reverse. At each stop, the vehicle and passenger will react to something humorous before traveling to the next destination. The humorous performance will also include an unplanned stop where the character takes a selfie, a creative physical representation of the selfie, and a vehicle-produced special effect.
The Spirit of the Problem is for the team to perform an original humorous solution that includes a team-made vehicle powered by stored energy and driven by at least one team member riding on it. The vehicle and its rider travels to three different locations in search of humor. At each stop the vehicle and character will react to something funny. There will also be an unplanned stop to take a selfie, a creative physical representation of the selfie, and a special effect produced by the vehicle.
Problem 3 Classics:
OMER and the Beanstalk
Storybooks come alive when a special bean grows into a magic “beanstalk” that takes a youngster into a storybook land. There, a creative host will guide them around as they meet different storybook characters and encounter objects from selected stories that exist together in this mystical land. Teams will use baking soda to create works of art relating to the stories. A set piece or prop that grows or appears to grow and an original Life Lesson learned by the youngster in storybook land will be part of the performance.
The Spirit of the Problem is to create an original performance depicting a youngster character that travels to a storybook land when a magic bean grows into a beanstalk. A creative host will guide the youngster through the storybook land as they interact with characters and artistic representations inspired by objects from selected classic children’s stories. The works of art will use baking soda as a material. There will also be a set piece that grows or appears to grow. All the while the youngster will learn a Life Lesson.
Problem 5 Performance:
A Cliffhanger Beginning
Get ready for a story that begins with a cliffhanger “ending.” A Superhero is in peril and needs help to escape. Just as all hope seems lost, the Superhero puts on a pair of Super Socks that give the hero a special power. The Superhero uses the power to escape and fend off an adversary who caused the cliffhanger situation. Teams will also create an extreme weather setting, a humorous character, and a sound effect that occurs whenever the character activates the Super Socks.
The Spirit of the Problem is to create an original performance that starts with a cliffhanger “ending” and shows a Superhero character in a perilous situation caused by an adversary character. The Superhero gains a power by putting on Super Socks and escapes. There will also be an extreme weather setting, a humorous character, and a sound effect that occurs when the Superhero character activates the Super Socks. To add to the Style of the performance, rubber bands will be used in a creative way.
Problem 2: Technical
As part of the world, teams will design and build various technical effects, which include changing something that is two-dimensional into three-dimensional. During the performance, a character will unknowingly enter the Virtual Reality World where it will encounter a nefarious creature. It will learn the rules of collecting credits in the virtual world as the odyssey progresses. Finally, the character will escape the “clutches” of the creature and earn the last credit that allows it to journey back to the real world.
The Spirit of the Problem is to create a performance about a character that begins in a real world setting and then unknowingly enters a Virtual Reality world. When this happens, a special effect will occur. The character that enters the VR world will have to escape from a nefarious creature and earn credits in order to journey back to the real-world setting. The VR world will feature three technical effects produced by team-created devices including: makes something change or appear to change from 2-d into 3-d, one that signals when credits are earned, and a free choice.
In this problem, teams will design and build a structure made of only balsa wood and glue, if desired, that holds as much weight as possible after it is used to trap a moving object. However, an oblivious character will unwittingly avoid traps it does not recognize in a humorous performance. The performance will also include a narrator character that alerts the audience to the action and the traps.
The Spirit of the Problem is for the team to design, build, and test a structure made only of balsa wood, glue if desired, and to place as much weight as possible onto it. Before weight-placement begins, the structure must attempt to trap a moving object. The team will present a humorous performance about an Oblivious Character that unwittingly avoids traps and a Narrator Character that will explain each trap and the action taking place.
Problem 4 Structure:
It's a Trap!!!
Problem 6 Primary
Animals are People Too! (K-2: Non-Competitive)
Teams will create and present a humorous performance about a magical pair of glasses that when looked through, make people look like animals. Teams will design a costume that transforms a character’s appearance from human to an animal, and another costume that transforms an animal to a different animal. A character will attempt to duplicate the glasses, but the copycat version doesn’t work the same way. What is seen through the copycat glasses will be represented by an artistic representation.
The Spirit of the Problem is for the team to create and present an original performance depicting a magical pair of glasses that transforms two characters’ appearances into an animal, and then one animal into a different animal. The transformation will be shown by costumes that change. A character will try to copy the magical glasses, but they work differently than the original glasses.