After winning first place at the Vermont State Odyssey of the Mind Tournament, this Orchard School team is heading to the World Finals in May. 

Ready, Set, Balsa, Build!

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Thursday April 06, 2017

A team representing Orchard School took first place at the 38th Vermont State Odyssey of the Mind Tournament held March 18 at Champlain Valley High School in Hinesburg. Winning team members include fourth graders Lav Patel, Eve Linnell, Myra Waqar, Sophie Warren, Lukas Berger, and first grader Trusha Patel. Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving program where team members work together to solve a predefined problem and later present their solution at a competition. The winning Orchard team, coached by Hetal and Yogesh Patel, will head to the World Finals May 24 to 27 in East Lansing, Michigan, where they will compete with over 825 teams from around the world.

For their win, the Orchard team tackled and solved the Odyssey of the Mind problem titled, “Ready, Set, Balsa, Build!” Described in part as team designing, building, and testing “a structure made of only balsa wood and glue that will balance and support as much weight as possible. The structure must include sets of balsa pieces of predetermined sizes and quantities as listed in the problem. Some sets must be parts of the structure while others, if incorporated, will receive additional score – the more sets of pieces used, the higher the score.” At the competition, the team gives a presentation of the solution, including a performance with a theme “about using what’s available and that incorporates weight-placement and assembling original team creations.” The problem also states this maxim, a great life lesson in itself, “Creativity can be defined by using only what you have to get a job done.”

According to Coach Hetal, details about the team’s structure cannot yet be disclosed until the world final is over. She added, “The team did very well in spontaneous part of the tournament as well.”
The Odyssey of the Mind problem solving helps participants recognize and explore their true potential. In addition, Hetal says, “The competition emphasizes creativity and teamwork.”

The Orchard team seems well on their way in these vital and useful life skills.