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Odyssey of the Mind

Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving competition. It teaches students how to work in teams and think divergently to come up with creative solutions within a limited budget. Teams must complete a Long-Term Problem, whose subject matter varies from the technical to the artistic to the classical. Teams will also participate in a Spontaneous Problem, which they will not know what the problem is until they enter the competition room. 

At the Odyssey of the Mind Finals on 7 and 8 April 2017 held at ACS(I), our team of 7 Secondary 2 students did the school proud with the team emerging as Champion for the Division 2 Problem 4.  

Division 2 Problem 4 – Ready, Set, Balsa, Build! (Champion)

Caleb Tay Kaile (2F)
Mattheus Cheong Chi En (2F)
Mitchel Lee Jun Xian (2F)
Zoie Lee Li Jin (2F)
Kelly Tan Mui Kwan (2C)
Ang Soo Hui (2H)
Elizabeth Lee Wen Yu (2K)

Students receiving their medals on stage
Group photograph of the team with the teachers

As a result of bagging the top position in the national finals back here in Singapore, the team was given the opportunity to represent Singapore and compete in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals 2017 held in Michigan, United States of America from 22-31 May 2017.

The World Finals 2017 brought together a total of 836 teams from 15 different countries. Being the only team to represent Singapore in Problem 4, Division Two, our students were given the opportunity to represent the Singapore contingent and to march into the stadium holding onto the Singapore State flag during the Opening ceremony. As part of the competition requirements, the team built a structure entirely out of balsa wood which was tested to failure. The testing process was incorporated into a 8 minute long term problem presentation complete with props made entirely from recycled materials. The team was also tested on their ability to think on their feet and to provide witty and well-thought through answers in the Spontaneous session. Despite meeting tough opposition from 15 other countries, the team overcome the many challenges faced and managed to achieve 28th placing out of 55 teams which was considered a commendable feat.

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Students holding onto the Singapore flag and preparing to march into the stadium at MSU
Performance during the Long Term problem for Problem Four (Division 2)
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Team photograph with the two teachers-in-charge
Team photograph at the Creativity festival within MSU Campus

As part of the trip to Michigan, the team also visited Henry ford Museum and Greenfield Village which was a large indoor and outdoor history museum complex and a National Historic Landmark in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan, USA. The museum collection contains artefacts such as the presidential limousine of John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln's chair from Ford's Theatre, Thomas Edison's laboratory and many more. The students have learnt much from the trip which broaden their horizon compared to what they manage to learn from their textbooks.

All in all, the trip was a fulfilling one where the students not only managed to compete with teams from other countries, they also managed to interact and learn from each other. The students have grown to be more grateful to the safe and secure environment which Singapore have, as well as enjoying the learning with different individuals from different countries, cultures and becoming more resilient and globally astute.