Students return from US with record haul

Students from the Gdansk-Gdynia-Sopot Metropolitan Area are celebrating following unprecedented success at the 37th Odyssey of the Mind World Finals which took place in the United States last week.

Groups from all over our region were represented among over 800 teams from all parts of the world competing at the finals, which took place at the Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

The Odyssey of the Mind project is designed to help students learn problem-solving methods while having fun at the same time. The idea dates back to 1978 when a New Jersey professor created a problem-solving competition for his students. He challenged them to create vehicles without wheels, mechanical pie throwers and flotation devices that could carry them across a lake but rather than grade them on the success of their solutions, Professor Micklus, judged them on their ingenuity in trying to solve the challenges set. The event quickly drew attention from beyond New Jersey and this year’s finals saw competitors from 25 different nations.

Teams of up to seven students choose one from five problems to solve which come from a wide range of interests. Some are technical; some artistic or performance-related. Each team works on their solution throughout the school year with an adult ‘coach’ before presenting their solutions in the spring.

Students from Poland picked up a haul of 11 top placings, including 9 medals, with four first places; three second places; two third places as well as two special awards for outstanding creativity. Particularly notable results were achieved by schools from Gdansk and Gdynia (full results can be found here)

Osrodek Psychoedukacji DAMB won in the No-Cycle Recycle problem in the Under-15s age-group; Laboratorium PRZYMAT from Gdansk came second in the Aesop Gone Viral problem in the Under-15s age-group; Fundacji Inicjatyw Społecznych ŁAJBA from Gdynia came second in the Stack Attack problem in the open category; Gdynia School #3 came third in the Aesop Gone Viral problem for Over-15s category; Laboratorium PRZYMAT from Gdansk came third in the Something Fishy Problem in the Under-15s age-group and Gdynia School #3 came fourth in the Fins, Furs, Feathers and Friends problem in the Under-15s age-group.

There were also prizes for outstanding creativity for the Osrodek Psychoedukacji DAMB and Anna Pawlicha from Gimnazjum #4 who were both picked up the most coveted prize at the finals. The Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award is presented to teams or individuals who exhibit exceptional creativity, either through some aspect of their problem solution, or an extraordinary idea beyond the problem solution.