Several Utah County students will travel to Boulder, Colo., in May to participate in an international Odyssey of the Mind competition.
Three teams from Shelley Elementary School in American Fork, two teams from Barnett Elementary School in Payson and a team from Orem High School will take their state champion performances to the 10th Annual Odyssey of the Mind competition.John Anderson, a computer science teacher at Uintah High School in Vernal, said the event is a problem-solving program that allows even day-to-day non-achievers to excel. "In this competition it's not necessary for the students to be the gifted students."
Melinda Sherrell, state director of the competition, said the event is a creative, problem-solving exercise. "The purpose is to foster the development of creative thinking and creative problem-solving skill among young people."
Students from kindergarten through fifth grade, sixth through eighth grades and ninth through 12th grades compete in problems from rewriting and performing the ending of "Moby Dick" to designing, building and powering a vehicle that fits into a suitcase, Sherrell said.
Students are required to come up with solutions, which many times appear professionally produced, but are all the ideas of the students themselves. "The contest requires that these all be their own ideas," Anderson said.
IBM sponsors the competition, which began in 1978.
Anderson said the first state competition was five years ago, when teams from Vernal competed to represent the state in the international competition in Arizona. Last year's contest was in Maryland, and a team from Utah took first prize in one of the competitions.