I've blogged before about Pierce participating in Odyssey in the Mind, something I did myself as a kid. If you haven't heard of it, Odyssey of the Mind (or OM) is a creative problem solving challenge in which teams of seven kids choose from one of five problems and create a skit or structure or vehicle. There is also a portion called "spontaneous" where they have to do a short term problem the day of competition that they don't know about beforehand. Pierce was on a primary team in first grade (they present their project/skit, but don't compete), but has been on a competitive team the other years.
Last year Cort and Reid saw how much fun he was having, and asked to be in OM as well. I talked to the teacher coaching Pierce's team last year, and she was nice enough to coach a primary team with the twins if I would coach that primary team with her. She has a lot of experience, and the kids all love her. This year Pierce migrated to a different team of mostly 5th graders (everyone else on his team from last year left for middle school), but Mrs. Harden and I stuck with the primary team from last year - only they progressed to being competitive this year.
The kids chose the problem of Stellar Hangout. They had to create a space relay station with aliens. There had to be a human worker, space food, entertainment, and a quest for treasure. The kids have been working on this since October. The last couple of weeks we were meeting for a couple of hours after school every single day to try to tie it all together. The coaches are only allowed to give guidance and provide supplies - the kids have to create everything and write all the lines. The more creative and outside the box, the higher the score. (Pierce's team chose a problem where they made a Mockumentary of a children's classic - they chose Peter Pan).
Saturday was the regional competition. Here are Cort and Reid in their alien pop star costumes:
The teams worked really hard and had so much fun. What energy! What creativity!
At the awards ceremony, we found out that Pierce's team placed second in their category. They were thrilled - they really did have an adorable skit.
And then came time for the Stellar Hangout awards. They were up against 13 teams total. I think Mrs. Harden and I were both a little shocked when they won first place. They have a wonderful skit with very creative elements, crazy costumes and unusual props, and a catchy and hilarious song, but they're a young team (all 2nd and 3rd graders). I just never expected it to happen, especially their first year. So they get to go to the state competition in Newport News next month.
So it looks like I have a few more weeks of OM practices in my future. I'm happy for the kids - they really worked hard for this. It's going to be a fun adventure, and I'll let you know how it goes!