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Odyssey of the Mind

Odyssey of the Mind (OOTM) teaches students how to develop and use their natural creativity to become problem-solvers. The Honors College is proud to partner with Oklahoma Odyssey of the Mind and host the state finals annually at Oklahoma State University. For information about the program or ways to get involved at the K-12 level visit the state website.


Spring 2024 finals will be on April 6th.

What is OOTM?

Odyssey of the Mind exemplifies an honors approach to education as teams are tasked with solving a problem not only using their technical, scientific knowledge but also integrating artistic elements such as storyline, costumes, acting, etc.


Each year OOTM provides five competitive long-­term problems, whose subject matter varies from the technical to the artistic to the classical. Teams choose the problem they wish to solve and create a solution to 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 are as follows:


  • Problem 1: Vehicle – Teams design, build and operate one or more vehicles. Sometimes they’re small, other times they’re big enough to ride on and transport other items. Generally, the vehicles are scored on their propulsion system, and for traveling and completing different tasks.
  • Problem 2: Technical/Performance – Teams are scored for performance elements as well as for some type of technical achievement. Usually, this problem requires the team to create one or more devices that perform certain functions or tasks.
  • Problem 3: Classics – This is a performance problem based on something “classical.” It could involve mythology, art, music, archaeology, or anything else that is classical in nature.
  • Problem 4: Structure – Teams design and build a structure out of only balsa wood and glue. They test the structure by adding Olympic-­size weights until it breaks. Each year there is an element of the problem that sets it apart from other years. For example, having the structure endure the impact of a ball propelled down a ramp.
  • Problem 5: Performance – This is strictly a performance problem, where scoring is based mostly on the performance and elements within the performance. It sometimes requires a specific character, sometimes humor, sometimes an original story, but it’s always fun!
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