Arredondo Odyssey Team Celebrates Another Great Year!
With a continuously changing world, it is important for our students to challenge themselves through critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. Through the Odyssey of the Mind Program, Arredondo Elementary is preparing our future world leaders by exercising their ability to think critically as well as creatively in a collaborative and fun afterschool club environment!
Closing out their third year leading this afterschool club, Computer Lab Assistant Melody Dickens and PACE Teacher Rhonda Ray reflected with their students about what makes the Arredondo Odyssey Team a unique and fun opportunity to flex student problem-solving skills in their last meeting of the year.
Odyssey of the Mind engages students in their learning by allowing their knowledge and ideas to come to life in an exciting, productive environment. Participants build self-confidence, develop life skills, create new friendships, and are able to recognize and explore their true potential.
“Each year, we work off of a new set of ‘problems’ that the Odyssey of the Mind Program creates in their lesson plans,” explained Dickens. “We read through the prompts together, and our students work in teams to develop a strategy to tackle those specific problems.”
“Since every student has different strengths, it’s a great opportunity for students to work collaboratively and learn new skills to solve each problem,” added Ray. “Students use important critical thinking that draw from STEM but also use knowledge from their art and history classes. Therefore, Odyssey of the Mind is more of a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) activity for the students.”
Arredondo’s Odyssey of the Mind club is divided into two teams. The Primary Team consists of second-grade students and the Division One Team consists of students in fourth- and fifth-grade. These two teams both work on individual projects appropriate for their teams, challenging their problem-solving skills throughout the year.
This year, the Division One Team qualified to go to the Arizona Odyssey of the Mind regional competition where they were able to compete against the clock to solve a problem alongside other school teams in their region. The team was judged on their ability to solve a specific problem.
The problem that the Division One Team solved was building a structure using balsa wood that was decorated to look like an animal. The team then “feeds” the animal, a shark. After it eats, the animal will leave its home. The structure, still holding the food, will remain in place and be tested for strength. To solve the problem, the team must design and build a structure that can support as much weight as possible while holding the food throughout the weight placement. The team’s solution was also presented in an original performance with a theme that explains the structure’s transformation, why the animal leaves home, and the weight placement.
“We really had to work together and learn new skills,” said Fifth-Grade Student Anthony Reyes. “The most interesting thing about competing in state was learning about sharks, building our structure, and working as a team.”
Arredondo’s Odyssey of the Mind Division One Team ended up getting a perfect score and won second place at their regional competition!
“It felt awesome to win second-place!” said Fourth-Grade Student Eric Divanagarcia. “We tried our best and I felt like we worked well as a team.”
The Primary Team had their own exciting project that they completed. The team worked on creating their own cooking show where a chef gives an original, humorous performance depicting a setting where three original characters visit. The team created their own unique characters, a three-dimensional set, and determined what meal they would be cooking. The problem that they needed to solve was on the performance, the design of the set, and the materials needed to make representations of food. The Primary Team did not compete in regionals, however they did practice public speaking skills by performing their skit for their club.
“I like Odyssey of the Mind because it teaches us how to build and learn how to work together,” said Second-Grade Student Gracie Barba.
Next year, the Odyssey of the Mind team plans to continue their club and continue working on solving problems through working as a team.
“The best part about this club is the direct impact our students see from solving their assigned problem,” said Ray. “These students work really hard and always make sure they are doing their best work by staying productive and working as a team.”