Friday, January 6, 2017

Winter 2017 Long Term problem - Furs, Fins and Feathers

Furs, Fins and Feathers

IntroductionA number of creative works have featured animals as the central theme. For example, Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a story about life and death as experienced by a seagull. Although it is a simple story, it is a meaningful one. Many points in the story present various interpretations and, like many works of literature, these may be debated. Although this problem is not based onJonathan Livingston Seagull, we suggest you read the story. Other examples of how an animal views its life include the book,Charlotte's Web, the movie, Bambi, and the musical, Cats, by Andrew Lloyd Weber.

  1. The Problem
    Your team's problem is to create and present a humorous performance depicting the life of an animal from the animal's perspective. The performance will include the animal and an interaction between it and one or more human beings. During the performance the animal will display four feelings or emo- tions from a given list. The creative emphases of the problem are on the humor of the performance, the appearance of the animal, the depiction of its life and its interaction with one or more human beings, and the animal's display of feelings.Thus, the Spirit of the Problem is for the team to create and present an original performance that depicts the life of an animal.
  2. Limitations
    1. The time limit for setup, Style, and the performance is 8 minutes.
    2. Materials used to solve the problem cannot exceed a $75 (U.S.) value.
    3. The performance must include:
      1. an animal as the main character. This will be scored in D. Scoring, 3, and in E. Style.
      2. an interaction between the animal and one or more human beings.
      3. the animal displaying four of the following traits in any order:
        (1) anger(5) fear(9) loyalty
        (2) bravery(6) greed(10) pride
        (3) confusion(7) hunger(11) problem-solving
        (4) curiosity(8) joy(12) shyness
    4. The featured animal:
      1. must be something from the animal kingdom, existing or extinct, such as a mammal, fish, reptile, insect, etc. However, it may not be a human being.
      2. must be depicted as an original (team-created) character; that is, it may not be a known char- acter such as Mickey Mouse, Garfield, OMER, Lassie, etc.
      3. may be oversized or undersized, but must retain its general characteristics.
      4. may display human traits such as walking on two feet, talking, etc.
      5. may be portrayed by any means such as a robot, prop, puppet, team member in costume, etc.
    5. The performance may include additional animals, characters and/or feelings or emotions.
    6. The performance may represent any length of time during the animal's life; e.g, minutes, years.
  3. Site and Setup
    1. A stage or floor area a minimum of 7' x 10' must be used, but a larger area is desirable.
    2. A three-prong electrical outlet will be available. Teams should supply their own extension cords.
  4. Scoring
    1. Creativity of the overall performance (originality, theme, effectiveness), 1 to 25 points
    2. Quality of the performance (audibility, movement, stage presence), 1 to 20 points
    3. Creativity of the main animal character (behavior, mannerisms), 1 to 25 points
    4. The depiction of any length of the animal's life (creativity, effectiveness), 1 to 25 points
    5. Interaction between the animal and a human being(s) (creativity, uniqueness), 1 or 20 points
    6. Feelings displayed by the animal:
      1. First feeling, 1 to 15 points
        (1) Displays first feeling, 0 or 5 points
        (2) Effectiveness, 1 to 10 points
      2. Second feeling, 1 to 15 points
        (1) Displays second feeling, 0 or 5 points
        (2) Effectiveness, 1 to 10 points
      3. Third feeling, 1 to 15 points
        (1) Displays third feeling, 0 or 5 points
        (2) Effectiveness, 1 to 10 points
      4. Fourth feeling, 1 to 15 points
        (1) Displays fourth feeling, 0 or 5 points
        (2) Effectiveness, 1 to 10 points
      5. Humor of the performance (subjective opinion of the judge), 1-25 points
    Maximum possible: 200 points
    1. Spirit of the Problem violation, -1 to -100 points
    2. Unsportsmanlike conduct (each offense), -5 to -100 points
    3. Outside assistance (each offense), -5 to -100 points
    4. Over cost limit, -5 to -100 points
    5. Overtime: -5 points for every 10 seconds or fraction thereof over time limit.
  5. Style
    1. Appearance of the main character, 1 to 10 points
    2. (Free choice of team), 1 to 10 points
    3. (Free choice of team), 1 to 10 points
    4. (Free choice of team), 1 to 10 points
    5. Overall effect, 1 to 10 points
    Maximum possible: 50 points

Friday, September 2, 2016

Fall 2016 Long term problem - Omer to the rescue

Omer to the rescue

IntroductionWe have numerous comic book, comic strip, radio, and television heroes and heroines entertaining us while they accomplish fantastic feats and work for justice. Some', such as Wonder Woman and Superman, work alone while other heroes have partners or "sidekicks." Batman and Robin, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, Robin Hood and Little John are a few who work together. This is your opportunity to perform heroic feats as you create your "OMER" and his or her "sidekick."
  1. The ProblemYour team is to create a minimum of three live characters. These must be OMER, Sidekick, and a distressed person. Your solution to the problem is to be developed around this scenario: OMER and Sidekick are to stand in the Neighborhood (see Figure A). Each travels with a suitcase. They open their suitcases, one or both of which contains the parts to a vehicle. The vehicle will then be assembled. The person in distress may not assist in the vehicle's assembly. OMER and/or Sidekick will then leave the Neighborhood on the vehicle and proceed to relieve a person in distress, stop a crime, rescue a lost kitten, and do two good deeds of the team's choosing. The five tasks may be completed in any order. Then the vehicle will be disassembled and replaced in the suitcase(s). The person relieved from distress may assist in the disassembling of the vehicle.
    The Spirit of the Problem is to create a scenario that includes OMER, Sidekick, and a distressed person and to design and to construct a vehicle that will fit into one or two suitcases. The team is to assemble its vehicle, drive it, turn it, stop it, and perform the specified tasks, then disassemble the vehicle.
  2. Limitations (General limitations are listed in the Odyssey of the Mind Program Handbook.)
    1. The time limit for the competition, including set-up, Style, and performance, is ten minutes.
    2. Except for items exempt from cost in the Odyssey of the Mind Program Handbook, the cost limit is $75 (U.S.), including the cost of the vehicle and its propulsion system. The cost limit does not include new or used suitcases, or suitcases built by the team. Additional points will be given for less money spent. Under $60 = +5 points; under $45 = +10 points; under $30 = +15 points.
    3. The entire vehicle must be contained in one or two closed suticases. Each suitcase must have outside dimensions not exceeding 23" x 31" x 10" and may be made of any material.
    4. The vehicle must be totally enclosed in the suitcase(s) when the signal to begin is given. Then it must be assembled in the Neighborhood, complete the tasks, return to the Neighborhood, be disassembled and placed back into the suitcase(s).
    5. The suitcase(s) may be part of the vehicle. However, they must either be suitcases or resemble pieces of luggage. Some suitcases have built-in wheels. These wheels may not be used as the vehicle's wheels.
    6. OMER and/or Sidekick must ride in or on the vehicle and may not leave the vehicle except in the Neighborhood. If OMER or Sidekick touches the floor outside the Neighborhood, it is a penalty. OMER and Sidekick may return to the Neighborhood as often as they wish.
    7. Only one vehicle may be made. Only OMER and/or Sidekick and the kitten may ride the vehicle. OMER and Sidekick must complete the tasks.
    8. Division I participants have complete freedom in moving the vehicle. It may be pushed, pulled, or moved by any means.
    9. Division II participants may use any power source except moving the wheels directly by hand or pushing or pulling the vehicle by hand. Vehicles may not be connected to anything stationary except an electrical supply.
    10. Division III participants may not use human energy directly as a power source, e.g., pedal a bike, use ski poles, etc. Human energy may be used as a power source provided it is stored, e.g., pumping a jack, putting tension on a spring. Human energy may also be used to release and/or control an independent power source, e.g., electrical motor, battery, etc. Once the power source is released, no one may contribute to the vehicle's propulsion. The power source may be reset in the Neighborhood and in the Park.
    11. For all divisions, the vehicle braking and steering systems may be hand operated.
    12. Four team members, except the person in distress, may help assemble the vehicle. All five team members may help to disassemble the vehicle.
    13. The vehicle must be assembled and disassembled in the Neighborhood.
    14. The team's interpretation and configuration of the kitten and the nature of the distressed person's distress are of the team's choosing. The kitten may be portrayed by one of the five team members but no other live animals may be used.
    15. The distressed person and the kitten must be in position before their reliefs/rescues take place. Once in position, the distressed person and the kitten must remain in their areas until relieved or rescued. After the distressed person is relieved, he or she may leave the designated area and move anywhere. When the kitten is rescued, it must be kept on the vehicle and must be returned with OMER and/or Sidekick to the Neighborhood. This may be done at any time during the vehicle's run. The remaining two team members may move in or out of bounds without penalty.
    16. The floor contact points (usually wheels) of the vehicle must remain in bounds.
    17. All devices or apparatus (e.g., tongs, broom, etc.) used to perform the tasks must be contained in the suitcases at the start of the competition. This does not include stationary props.
    18. The devices or apparatus used to perform the tasks do not have to be returned to the Neighborhood, but until they are used they must be carried on or attached to the vehicle or carried by OMER and/or Sidekick.
    19. During the performance of the tasks, OMER's and Sidekick's body parts and devices used to perform the tasks may extend across the boundary lines without penalty, but the body parts may not touch the floor. 20. Before time begins, the team must present the judges with an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper (description sheet) containing a brief description of the crime, the two good deeds, the nature I of the distress, and the identification of the characters.
    20. A team member may portray only one character. OMER need not be the Odyssey of the Mind raccoon mascot.
    21. Tools for vehicle assembly do not have to be contained in the suitcase(s).
    22. The names OMER and Sidekick may be changed.
  3. The Competition
    1. The team, suitcases, and props, etc. will be in the staging area. When time begins it will be the team's responsibility to complete the tasks.
    2. OMER and Sidekick will go to the Neighborhood with their suitcases.
    3. The vehicle will be assembled in the Neighborhood.
    4. When the tasks are completed, the vehicle will be returned to the Neighborhood and will be disassembled.
    5. If time runs out, the team must stop.
  4. Scoring
    1. The creativity of the vehicle, 1 to 50 points
    2. The creativity of the characters and the scenario, 1 to 25 points
    3. The appearance of the vehicle, 1 to 15 points
    4. The creativity of the 1st good deed, 1 to 15 points (only scored if successfully completed)
    5. The creativity of the 2nd good deed, 1 to 15 points (only scored if successfully completed)
    6. The creativity of the distress and the relief of the distressed person, 1 to 15 points
    7. The creativity of OMER or Sidekick stopping a crime, 1 to 15 points
    8. The creativity of rescuing the lost kitten, 1 to 10 points
    9. Returning the kitten to the Neighborhood, 5 points
    10. Under the cost limit: lower cost = higher score Under $60, +5 points Under $40, +10 points, Under $30, +15 points
    11. The vehicle replaced into the suitcase(s), 20 points
    Maximum Possible: 200 pointsPenalties
    1. Any part(s) of the vehicle or task apparatus not inside the suitcase(s) at the start, -5 to -50 points
    2. OMER or Sidekick leaves the vehicle or touches the floor outside of the Neighborhood (each offense), -10 points
    3. Floor contact points of vehicle go out of bounds (each offense), -10 points
    4. Violation of the Spirit of the Problem (each offense), -5 to -100 points
    5. Outside assistance (each offense), -5 to -100 points
    6. Unsportsmanlike conduct (each offense) , -5 to -25 points
    7. Incorrect or missing membership sign , -1 to -15 points
    8. Division III power source reset while outside the Neighborhood or Park (each offense) , -15 points
    9. Each suitcase that exceeds any dimension by 1/2" or less, -25 points
    10. Each suitcase that exceeds any dimension by more than 1/2", -100 points
    11. Damage to floor or premises, -5 to -100 points
    12. Distressed person, before being relieved, assists in assembling the vehicle or comes in contact with the floor outside the distressed person's area, -25 points
    13. Any vehicular parts outside the neighborhood during assembly or disassembly (each offense -10 points), maximum = -20 points
    14. Kitten touches floor between Park and Neighborhood (each offense), -10 points
    15. Over cost limit , -5 to -50 points
  5. Style (Elaboration of the Problem Solution)
    1. The appearance of OMER, 1-10 points
    2. The appearance of Sidekick, 1-10 points
    3. Use of special effects, 1-10 points
    4. Free choice, 1-10 points
    5. Overall effect, 1-10 points
    Maximum Possible: 50 points

Friday, August 26, 2016

Spontaneous Problem # 10 - twinkle thing

Twinkle Thing

When the team members enter the room, tell them this is a verbal problem.
  1. JUDGE READS TO TEAMS: (Do not read material in parentheses.)
    1. You will have 1 minute to think and 2 minutes to respond. Questions count against your thinking time. You may ask the judge questions but may not talk to each other at any time.
    2. You will receive 1 point for each common response. Highly creative or humorous responses will receive 5 points. This will be a subjective opinion of the judges, and the judges' decision is final.
    3. Your team is to take turns in sequence. You may not skip your turn, or repeat, or pass. If one member of the team is stuck, the team is stuck.
    4. Once the time begins, it will not be stopped. If the judge asks you to repeat a response, or to clarify it, or to give a more appropriate response, it counts against your time. Speak loudly and clearly.
    5. You will be shown a picture of something found on the planet Twinkle. Your problem is to say something about it or say what it may be used for. (Repeat number 5, "Your problem is, ").
    1. Be sure to give exactly 1 minute to think and 2 minutes to respond. Timing is critical. Students responding at the buzzer can finish and be scored.
    2. Score: 1 point for each common response, 5 points for each creative response.
    3. Place a photocopy of the picture in full view of the team.
    4. Examples of Common Responses:Uses: It could be used in a game, to play Jax, as a sign, to talk to, as a pointer, keep it as a pet.
      Remarks: It's funny looking; It has nine arms and one leg; It's scary.
      Examples of Creative Responses:
      Use it as an anchor, a paperweight, an instrument to predict the weather, a weapon, a cookie mold, a telescope to see all around, something to hold twinkle samples, a twinkle ruler, a hat rack.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Spontaneous Problem # 9 - Names and Occupations

Names and Occupations

(Do not read numbers or phrases in parenthesis.)
  1. You will have 1 minute to think and 3 minutes to respond. Questions count against your thinking time.
  2. You will receive one point for each response. Highly creative responses will receive five points. This will be a subjective opinion of the judge, and the judge's decision is final.
  3. A number has been placed before each of you. That is your assigned number.
  4. A stack of cards appears before you. When time begins, the judge will turn over the first card. The team member whose number corresponds to the card number will give the response. For example, if the first card is 3 then team member number 3 will give the response.
  5. After the team member gives the response, he or she will turn over the next card. That team member will respond, and so on.
  6. You may not skip your turn, or repeat, or pass. If one member of the team is stuck, the team is stuck.
  7. Once the time begins, it will not be stopped. If the judge asks you to repeat an answer, or to clarify it, or to give a more appropriate response, it counts against your time. Speak loudly and clearly.
  8. Your problem is: Use a word or words to make a first and last name. You must relate this name to an occupation. For example: Budweiser could be split into Bud as a first name and Weiser as a last name. Bud Weiser could be a beer distributor. Or, saliva could become: first name "Sal" and last name "Iva" and Sal Iva could be a dentist. The first word must be a recognized name or nickname. (Repeat No. 8, "Your problem is:")
  1. Be sure to give exactly one minute to think and three minutes to respond. Timing is critical. A student responding at the buzzer can finish and be scored.
  2. Score: One point for each common response and five points for each creative response.
  3. In order to ensure that in every five cards turned over each team member will give one answer, stack the cards in the following order for each team: 2,4,3,1,5; 3,1,4,5,2; 3,2,5,4,1; 4,3,5,2,1; 2,1,4,3,5; 2,4,5,1,3; 1,5,3,2,4; 5,4,2,1,3; 4,1,3,5,2; 1,3,5,4,2.
  4. If all the cards have been used, turn them over and start again. At the end of the session, the timekeeper should check the order of the cards and rearrange them if any are out of order.
  5. Be sure that all cards assigning seat position have been placed into position prior to calling in the team. Place the blank response sheet on the table for the team to see.
  6. Examples of Common Responses:Examples given: Bud Weiser is a beer distributor
    Sal Iva is a dentist
    Responses similar to one already given, e.g., Bud Weiser is a bartender
    Poor quality, but acceptable answers
  7. Examples of Creative Responses:One word broken up to make a first and last name:
    Minnie Ster is a clergyman
    Lou Pole is a tax advisor
    Dan Druff is a hairdresser
    Paul Bearer is an undertaker
    Bill Fold is a pickpocket
    Bee Keeper is a honey farmer
    Clara Net is a musician
    Jack Hammer is a construction worker
    Ali Gator is a marine biologist
    Bill Board is an advertiser
    Two words put together to make a name:
    Chuck Roast is a butcher
    Rose Bush is a landscaper
    Jim Floor is a basketball coach
    Cliff Hanger is a mountain climber
    Sandy Rhoades works for the highway department
    Mark Spotter is a surveyor
    Carrie-West is a pioneer
    Armond Hammer is a carpenter
    Don Garments is a model
    Johnny Mop is a janitor
    Ted E. Bear is a zookeeper
    Al Kaseltzer is a pharmacist
    Matt Weaver is a tailor
    Will Writer is a lawyer
    Pete Spreader is a gardener
NOTE: Once an answer is given, if a very similar answer is given, count it as common only and then declare any other answers that are basically the same as repeats.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Spontaneous Problem # 8 - Tug of war

Tug o War

(This problem is adapted from Problems to Challenge Creativity by Dr. C. Samuel Micklus.)This activity may be done with any number of students. Students will work individually or in groups of 2-5 to make links that will be joined together to form a chain to be used in a tug-of-war. You should select 2 or 4 non-participating students to participate in the tug-of-war and to keep track of the score.
  1. Give each team an envelope containing one tissue, 4 toothpicks, one adhesive mailing label, one straw, one rubber band, one Styrofoam cup, and one piece of 8 1/2" x 11" paper.
  2. Make up tags containing each team's name (two per team).
  3. Have a scissors and a coffee can available for the students to use.
  4. Read "The Problem" and "Scoring the Solutions" to the students.
  5. Give the students 6 minutes to develop their solutions. Do not allow teams to view each other's solutions.
  6. Test the completed links to make sure the coffee can is able to pass through. If a link does not accept the can, it is disqualified.
  7. Mark each completed link with the team's tag.
  8. Form two chains -- Chain A and Chain B -- by attaching the links together with a 15-inch piece of clothesline using a square knot. Once all the links are attached, add a 3-foot rope to each end to serve as a pulling device.
  9. Test the chains by having individuals tug at both ends.
  10. Score as each link breaks. Once all links are broken, total the score.
The Problem:
  1. You have 6 minutes to develop your solution. You may talk to your teammates at any time.
  2. Using the envelope of materials, you are to make two links for tug-of-war chains. You will choose one link to be attached to Chain A and one to be attached to Chain B.
  3. Each link must have an opening large enough for a one-pound coffee can to fit through.
  4. You may not alter the coffee can and you may not use the scissors as part of your links.
  5. Once your links are completed, they will be attached to either Chain A or Chain B. The chains will then be used in a tug-of-war.
Scoring the Solutions:
  1. Testing Chain A: When the first links breaks, each remaining link receives 1 point. When the second link breaks, each remaining link receives 2 points, and so on.
  2. Testing Chain B: When the first links breaks, each remaining link receives 5 points. When the second link breaks, each remaining link receives 6 points, and so on.
  3. Each team's points for its links in Chain A and Chain B will be added for its final score.
  4. The team with the highest score wins the Tug O' War!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Activity # 3 - Grandeur


Many times, we see creations that are larger than life. For example, characters such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and the Chipmunks walk around the Disney parks bringing enjoyment to all. Artists sometimes portray figures as being quite large. Michelangelo's sculpture of David stands thirteen and a half feet tall. Motion pictures have featured giant ants, reptiles, and the classic, King Kong, the huge gorilla. Folklore and mythology tell of super humans such as Paul Bunyan, Hercules, Odysseus and many others. The method of presenting these creations is also important. Whether by the backdrop of the Magic Kingdom, museums, theaters or books, the characters are portrayed in an atmosphere that enhances their characteristics.
  1. The Problem
    The problem is to design and construct an inflatable room to display examples of organisms or an ecosystem. The solutions to the problem are to be shown larger than life-size and presented in a unique environment.The inflatable room, in addition to becoming exhibit space, may become part of the solution. For example, it may represent a single drop of water. Other microscopic organisms may be constructed in proportion to the overall room and hung inside. The room could also be made as a heart or brain, or it could represent a body of water with a food chain displayed. Slides may be projected onto the walls. Keep in mind that the room may be used as an interesting space to exhibit anything the group wishes.
  2. Limitations
    1. A window fan (approximately 20") will be used to inflate the room (see Figure A). A fan with several speeds is recommended. Select the speed that is most desirable to inflate the room. The fan should be plugged into a socket and placed out of the flow of traffic. Use duct tape to secure the electric wire to the floor.
    2. The plastic sheets used to make the room should be reasonably heavy (.004-.006). These are available in farm supply, hardware, and some paint stores. Be sure to include a bottom to the room. It is desirable to place an additional piece of plastic or something on the room's floor to prevent it from wearing through.
    3. The inflatable room must have a doorway at each end. This is merely a piece of duct tape placed on the plastic and slit down the middle (see Figure B). These must-remain easily accessible and unsealed. When someone enters or leaves the room, the immediate loss of air will cause the room to collapse to some degree; however, it will quickly regain its shape.
    4. The inflatable room should be made by a group of students. Individuals and/or groups may make the items, organisms, or subjects to be displayed inside.
    5. All wires, extension cords, etc., should be taped to a part of the room where they won't be stepped on or tripped over.
    6. No flammable liquids may be used.
    7. No light bulbs may come within 12" of the plastic.
    8. The size of the inflatable room may vary. You may begin with a 9' x 12' space; it can easily be expanded. Exceptionally large rooms may require an additional fan.
  3. The Activity
    1. This is not a competition problem; it is a group project. The group may include as few as three or four people or as many as fifty or more.
    2. The students should have a brainstorming session to suggest as many ideas of subjects to exhibit as possible.
    3. Once the students decide what is to be exhibited, they should then establish a timetable and a budget, assign specific exhibit details, and plan a grand opening.
    4. Each group should then construct its assignment for display.
    5. The inflatable room and its contents may be displayed in the school library, community center, a mall, bank, etc.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Spontaneous Problem # 7 - tower of pasta

Tower of Pasta

(This problem is adapted from Omermania by Dr. C. Samuel Micklus.)For this activity, divide the class into groups of 5-7 students. You may need an assistant to help keep track of timing, measuring, scoring and how well the team members are working together.
  1. Give each team 40 pieces of spaghetti, 15 pieces of elbow macaroni, 25 miniature marshmallows, 10 toothpicks, 4 straws, and 5 adhesive mailing labels.
  2. Have a table or desk available for the teams to build their structures.
  3. Give each team 5 pounds of 16-penny nails to use as weights, and a pint-sized plastic container.
  4. Read "The Problem" and "Scoring the Solutions" to the students.
  5. Give the students 7 minutes to develop their solutions. They must stop working on their structures at the end of the 7 minutes.
  6. The team will place the container on its structure before having it measured.
  7. Once the structure is measured, the team may start the 2-minute testing period.
The Problem:
  1. You have 7 minutes to make a structure and 2 minutes to test it. The structure will be scored on height and strength.
  2. You may talk to your team members at any time.
  3. You may use only the materials given to you.
  4. The structure must rest on the surface of the table. It may not lean against a wall or be supported by anything else.
  5. Once your structure is finished, you will place the container on top of it. It will then be measured from the surface of the table to the top of the container. It must measure at least 8 inches high to receive score.
  6. Once your structure is measured, you will begin placing weights in the container one at a time. A weight must be held for 3 seconds to count for score.
  7. You will be finished when your structure breaks, you have used all the weights, or time ends.
Scoring the Solutions:
  1. You will receive 10 points if the structure supports the container.
  2. You will receive 3 points for each inch of the height of the structure, including the container.
  3. Each weight supported by the structure for 3 seconds is worth 1 point.
  4. You will receive 1 to 10 points points for how well your team works together.