Cape Odyssey of the Mind teams vie for state honors March 30

March 28, 2019

Odyssey of the Mind teams from schools throughout the Cape Henlopen School District competed in qualifying tournaments in March, each working to earn a spot at the state competition.

Of the 21 Cape teams that competed, 11 will be heading to Dover for the state competition Saturday, March 30, hoping to solidify bids to world level.

“Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving competition where students are required to solve problems and perform a solution without the assistance from adults,” said Cheryl Baldwin, OM district advisor. “We’re very proud of the number of students who are participating in OM this year, and we recognize that we wouldn’t be able to do it without the support from the parents, coaches and advisors. They’ve put a lot of time and effort into preparing and working with our students over the last several months.”

Four of the seven teams at Shields competed March 1. One team earned a second-place finish in Problem 1, OMER to the Rescue, and another earned first place in Problem 3, Leonardo’s Workshop.

In Problem 1, students were tasked with creating an OMER-mobile, utilizing parts held in a suitcase. The goal was to assemble a vehicle that would function in various ways and allow OMER and his sidekick to save the day. Between attempts, the vehicle was disassembled, put back into the cases, and taken to a different area, then reassembled and driven again.

In Problem 3, teams were required to portray Leonardo da Vinci’s workplace in an original, creative performance that included LDV, a patron and a naysayer. The team had to create a da Vinci painting, make a three-dimensional representation of one of his works, and then create another LDV work in any form the team wished.

Love Creek Elementary had three teams compete March 9, with two qualifying for the state competition. One team earned a third-place finish, also in Problem 3, and another earned first place in Problem 2, Hide in Plain Site.

Mariner Middle and Milton Elementary schools had teams earn a bid at states by finishing in second and third place, respectively, in Problem 2. For this problem, teams were required to create and build a mechanical creature that hides in plain sight. The creature changed its appearance three times to avoid being detected by a searcher character trying to find it, and the way the character changed was required to be different each time. The teams created and presented a performance where their creature got in or out of various situations using a resourceful skill.

Three more teams from Shields qualified for states March 16, along with the two teams at Beacon Middle School. 

“All of the problems in which the students competed are classified as long-term problems and have an eight-minute time limit,” said Baldwin. “The judges give the teams a combined score based on their presentation and solution of the problem along with a style and spontaneous score. The spontaneous portion of the score is calculated by judges based on how students handle a problem given to them on the spot. They have a couple of minutes to think and then have to impress the judges with their creative responses.

“As an OM coach, I love this program. It gives the students a chance to think outside the box and be creative. It also gives them a chance to problem solve and work collaboratively as a team – skills that are so important to have,” said Becky Vansant, OM coach and teacher at Love Creek Elementary. 

The state competition will take place March 30 at William Henry Middle School in Dover. Teams will compete for an invitation to the 2019 World Competition from Wednesday to Saturday, May 22 to May 25, at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

Teams invited to worlds will have less than two months to raise enough money to pay expenses for coaches and chaperones to participate. For more information on Odyssey of the Mind, go to or

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