Monett Odyssey of the Mind teams advance

Friday, April 13, 2018
The Central Park vehicle team meets with the competition judges to discuss the details of their design and challenges. Students in the foreground pictured are Rowan George, Bryce Hoyt, (unknown), Aiden Cavnar, Parker Doss, and Meredith Merriman. Contributed photo

Central Park Elementary squads head to competition

On March 24, third and fourth grade students from Central Park Elementary School in Monett exhibited their innovative designs at the Odyssey of the Mind state contest held at Missouri Science and Technology Institute in Rolla, earning the right to advance beyond state to national competition.

Odyssey of the Mind is an educational program created 40 years ago to go beyond conventional thinking and develop students’ creativity and problem solving knowledge in science, technology and math —or STEM — education. Twenty-one students from Monett solved three problems under the arching topics: vehicle, structure, and performance.

The performance team during their challenge as they display their complete script down to costumes, all 100 percent executed by the students. Contributed photo

Placing first, the structure team developed a 14.7 gram balsawood structure, which withstood 55 pounds of pressure. Also placing first in their division, a student team created an original vehicle to complete the obstacles of the event. The performance team, placing second overall, created an original skit with a ‘quest for intergalactic treasure’.

Ada Bluel, balsawood structure team member, recalled the challenges with developing the strongest design.

“We made triangle, after triangle, after triangle, until finally we found strength in the rectangle,” she said.

“The persistence with all the teams, to keep trying until they found the creative solution to their problem, made me proud,” said Erin Meng, Odyssey of the Mind advisor and fourth grade teacher at Central Park Elementary.

Another team advisor and gifted teacher, Tracy Copening added, “Student team members are able to discover strengths not commonly highlighted in the conventional classroom.”

Students are inviting the community to join them at 6 p.m. on April 20 to showcase their projects and problem solving skills developed at Odyssey of the Mind. The showcase event will be held at Central Park Elementary School, 1010 7th St. They will ask for donations during the event to help cover the the significant cost required for all three teams to compete at the world competition.

Individuals or companies interested in sponsoring this team may contact Central Park Elementary at or 417-354-2168.