Sarasota County Schools News

Six schools compete in Odyssey of the Mind State Finals

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Bay Haven OM team 2015-16SSAS Stack Attack OM team 2015-16Sarasota High OM team 2015-16Tatum Ridge OM team 2015-16Lakeview OM team 2015-16Brentwood OM team 2015-16

ODYSSEY CHAMPS: Pictured above in photos starting at top, teams from Bay Haven School of Basics Plus, Sarasota School of Arts & Sciences, Sarasota High, Tatum Ridge Elementary, Lakeview Elementary and Brentwood Elementary will compete in the Odyssey of the Mind State Finals April 9 in Orlando.

SARASOTA COUNTY, March 29, 2016 – Teams from Six Sarasota County public schools — Bay Haven School of Basics Plus, Brentwood, Lakeview and Tatum Ridge elementary schools, Sarasota High School and Sarasota School of Arts & Sciences — will compete in the Odyssey of the Mind State Finals, Saturday, April 9, at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

The teams are headed to the state competition after competing successfully at the Odyssey of the Mind Sun Region competition held at Riverdale High School in Fort Myers March 5. Depending on their performance in the State Finals, the teams may compete in the World Finals, May 25-28, at Iowa State University in Ames.

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving program for students in grades K-12 and college. The goal is to learn teamwork, brainstorming, self-reliance and respect for the individual strengths of team members. Teams of five to seven students develop solutions to one of six long-term problems over several months, while practicing for a spontaneous problem that is presented at the competition.

Teams, problems and competitions are organized into five divisions by age groups. Division I is elementary school, Division II is middle school and Division III is high school. 

In a problem called “Stack Attack,” teams from Sarasota County Schools took first place in all three divisions: Bay Haven School of Basics Plus in Division I, Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences in Division II and Sarasota High School in Division III. The problem required teams to design, build and test a structure made only of balsa wood and glue that would balance and support as much weight as possible — twice! During weight placement, teams could “attack the stack” and remove all the weights except for the bottom one and the “crusher board.” Teams also received a score for removing weights. After attacking the stack, the weight-placement process could be repeated to add to the total weight held. Teams incorporated weight placement, repetition and “stack attacking” into the theme of the performance.

In “Aesop Gone Viral,” Tatum Ridge Elementary placed first in Division I. A team from Lakeview Elementary took fourth place. Teams created and presented an original performance about a fable “gone viral.” The problem included a list of fables attributed to Aesop. Teams selected one of the fables and portrayed it and its moral as going viral (being shared throughout the community and beyond). The performance was set in a past era and included a narrator character, an artistic representation of the fable's moral, and a character that made a wrong conclusion about the moral and was corrected.

In “Something Fishy,” Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences took first place in Division I. The team was charged with designing and operating a technical solution to simulate multiple styles of fishing. A “Fisher Character” worked from a designated area to “catch” three different objects outside the area. The “catch” was on the move and included something expected, something unexpected and a new discovery. The performance also included a “change of weather” and a humorous character.

In a problem called “Fins, Fur, Feathers & Friends,” Brentwood Elementary took second place in Division IA. The team had to create and present a humorous performance depicting problem-solving from the perspective of three different animals. The animals helped a stranger, helped each other, and solved a problem that threatened the survival of all animals. During the performance, the animals sang and danced, and expressed curiosity, sympathy, frustration and joy.

Bay Haven School of Basics Plus also fielded a team in the Primary (non-competitive elementary) division. The team participated in the “Stir the Pot” problem at the Sun Region competition and was selected to participate in the State Finals.

In addition to the team victories, McIntosh Middle School student Devin Rubinstein was selected to receive an OMER’s Award by judges of the “Something Fishy” problem. Rubinstein focused on solutions instead of the problem, keeping his team and the audience entertained with his humor while the McIntosh team was facing challenges with its vehicle. Sarasota School of Arts & Sciences Odyssey of the Mind coach Trevor Bliss won an OMER’s Award for being a role model and teaching good sportsmanship. The OMER’s Award is given to teams or individuals for showing “Odyssey spirit.” Winners can be recognized for showing artistic talent, good sportsmanship, teamwork or going beyond expectations to help others. 

The schools are holding fundraising activities to help cover the cost of sending teams to the state competition, and will need to raise additional funds if their performance at the State Finals qualifies them to compete in the World Finals. Community members who would like to learn more about each school’s fundraising efforts may visit for the schools’ phone numbers or call the district at 941-927-9000 to be connected to a particular school. 

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