Welcome to Odyssey of the Mind Coastal Region!!!

When people ask me, “What is Odyssey of the Mind?” I tell them to imagine a combination of theater and problem solving with a creative twist. Through the writing of original scripts, the creation of costumes, props, scenery, and technical elements, teams of students work together to produce incredible solutions to creative problems while thinking “Beyond the Box!” Students with talents in many areas find a unique opportunity to showcase their gifts in script writing, costume creation, music, dance, visual arts, props and scenery construction, engineering, problem solving, leadership, critical thinking, and more!

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem solving competition for students Elementary age through College age. They work together in a group of up to seven members. There are two parts to the competition:

Long Term Problem

  • This is what the team works on for several months, building a set, props, and costumes, writing a script, and working to solve the tasks required in the category they choose.
  • The five categories are: Vehicle, Technical, Classics, Structure, Theatre. The specific problem for the category changes every year.
  • The play is presented on the day of the competition in front a panel of judges and can generally be up to 8 minutes log.
  • There are two different scores achieved from this presentation- the standard long-term score, and the style score.
  • The objective is to be as creative as possible while solving the problem they chose to the best of the team’s ability. Creativity can be extended to the creative use of recycled products used in the set and costumes, creative use of rhetoric through puns or rhymes, or creativity to be able to make something appear as something else.
  • Teams competing compete against their same age range, or division over the same category problem chosen. Problem synopsis and division breakdowns are shown below.
  • Teams must be registered to compete, and the required paperwork must be brought the day of the competition with several copies for each of the judges.



  • Spontaneous is a problem the team is given the day of the competition, and will often last between 3-15 minutes.
  • There are three categories of problems the team can be given: Verbal, Hands-on, and Verbal/Hands-on
  • A Verbal problem would require verbal responses, generally grading higher for creative responses and lower for standard responses. There may be an unlimited amount of responses allowed in a certain time limit. Or, there may be a limited number of responses accepted. For example: Name oxymorons.
  • A Hands-on problem will require action to complete a task, often using objects. For example, with popsicle sticks, toothpicks, paper, tape, and rubber bands create a structure that can hang between two tables that can support the most paperclips. Scores would be given for completing the task, how many paperclips it held, sometimes creativity of the design, and sometimes how well the team works together.
  • A Hands-on/Verbal problem will often be verbal responses based on objects. For example, pass around a plastic cup and say what it could be. The responses would be graded higher for creative responses and lower for standard responses. If one team member is held up, often the team is held up.
  • The team receives one score for their spontaneous. It is possible to do poorly on the long-term and really well on the spontaneous, and pass up another team, or vice versa. The scores for spontaneous aren’t given out until the awards ceremony at the end of the night.

The overall objective of this competition is to be creative, have fun, and continue through the Regional level, State level, and advance to compete at the World competition!


Read about the Long term Problem Synopses Here:


Odyssey of the Mind teams are divided into four divisions:

Division I — Grades K-5 (U.S.): Less than 12 years of age on May 1 of the competition year (Other International).

Division II — Grades 6-8 (U.S.): Less than 15 years of age on May 1 of the competition year (Other International).

Division III — Grades 9-12 (U.S.): Oldest team member does not qualify for Divisions I or II and is attending regular school–not a college or university or anything similar (Other International).

Division IV — Collegiate for ALL TEAMS. All team members must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and be enrolled in at least one course at a two- or four-year college or university.

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving competition for students of all ages.

Odyssey of the Mind (OotM) is the largest worldwide creative problem-solving competition for children from Kindergarten through college. OotM’s mission is to foster the development of creative thinking and problem-solving skills. The program teaches that great minds don’t necessarily think alike – and often march to different drummers; that there are no right answers; that creative solutions come from teamwork, cooperation and risk-taking.

What is Odyssey of the Mind?
Students develop team-building skills by working in groups of as many as seven students per team.
Problem Solving
Students learn to examine problems and to identify the real challenge without limiting the possible solutions and their potential success.
Creative Thinking
The creative-thinking process is nurtured and developed as a problem-solving tool.
Thinking Outside the Box
Students of all types will find something that will appeal to them.