Forming a Team

It’s important to recognize that all students can benefit from participation in Odyssey of the Mind, and that performance in the classroom does not directly correlate with success in the program. Many students have highly developed creative problem-solving abilities but do not have the opportunity to apply them in the classroom.

Participation in Odyssey of the Mind removes the apprehension and self-consciousness that may inhibit students from becoming more involved in the classroom. Students who are not high achievers often discover, through solving Odyssey of the Mind problems, that the knowledge attained in school can be applied to many real-life situations, and they become more involved in the classroom as a result.

Recruit as many students as possible, and allow them to form their own teams. It is often the Odyssey of the Mind school administrator who organizes and arranges the teams. In some cases, teams form spontaneously. More often than not, it is more difficult to enlist a coach (teacher or parent), than to find interested team members.

It’s a good idea to involve students with different skills and abilities, so the team has a wide talent base to draw upon. This helps to build teamwork, because the members will learn to recognize and appreciate the abilities of others. Whether you’re trying to generate interest in the program or choosing from a well of eager students, here are a few suggestions on making that final decision of who should be on your team:

  • Hold a creativity “play-off,” where candidates are presented with problems that require creative thinking. Those who enjoy the activity will enjoy being on a team.
  • “Compose” each team with a selection of students with varying skills — for example, an artist, musician, computer expert, writer — depending on the nature of the problem.
  • For division I & II students, it is recommended not to span more than two grades.

Sometimes team members are from different schools, you must make sure to obtain permissions from the Principal of each school ahead of time. This is a required formality for some tournaments.

Teams can be any number of members up to a maximum of seven. If a team member drops out at any time, he/she remains on the roster and the seven members maximum still applies. If the team already had seven member, a new member cannot join as this would make it eight.

We recommend that you do not start a team with less than 5 members as they will be at a disadvantage against other teams. If members drop, they can still perform, even if they have fewer than 5.

Next Topic: The Team Parents