Basic Description

Odyssey of the Mind (OotM™) teaches students how to develop and use their natural creativity to become problem-solvers. Imagine being faced with a problem that requires an original solution. It can be frightening. Now imagine not being afraid to solve that problem – that is what OotM members learn. This skill and self-confidence will carry over to all areas of their lives. OotM brings the classroom to life as students apply what they learn and combine it with their interests and passions to solve our unique open-ended problems. OotM also emphasizes teamwork, budgeting, time management, public speaking, and so much more. This international program is designed to help students at all learning levels grow as individual learners, grow as team members, and to reach their full potential.

Long-term Problem Categories

Problem 1: Vehicle

Problem 2: Technical

Problem 3: Classics

Problem 4: Structure

Problem 5: Performance

Teams choose one long-term problem category and may prepare throughout the year for their solution to that problem. For problem 5, the team must write a script, create props and costumes, act in the play, and perform it live within 8 minutes. They are constrained by a budget of $125 and not receiving outside assistance.

Spontaneous Problem Categories


Verbal Hands-on


Teams must collaborate to solve the spontaneous problem within minutes at competition. To prepare for spontaneous problem-solving, teams typically will practice sample problems of the various types.

Scoring at Competition

Final scores are up to 200 points for Long-term, 100 points for Spontaneous, and 50 points for Style, for a top possible score of 350 points. The Long-term and Spontaneous problems are described above, and the Style component is meant to capture other aspects outside of the formal requirements. To see the scores this team has earned in past World Finals, click to view Competition Results