Bangor Odyssey of the Mind team advances to World Finals
Four teams representing the Bangor School District recently participated in the Wisconsin Odyssey of the Mind state competition; one of the teams has been invited to attend the World Finals Competition at Michigan State University from May 22 to 26.
Odyssey of the Mind (OotM) is a non-profit, international creative problem-solving program for students starting in kindergarten through college. The philosophy behind the program is that creativity can be learned.
According to Bangor’s OotM Coordinator Deb Gerke, team members work together at length to solve a predefined long-term problem and present their solution to the problem at a competition. Teams must also participate in the spontaneous portion of the competition by generating solutions to a problem they have not seen before.
While the long-term problem solution often takes many months to complete and involves various elements of theatrical performance, construction and design, the spontaneous portion occurs the day of the competition.
All solutions are completed entirely by team members helping students learn skills such as teamwork, project management and divergent thinking. Students learn about examining problems and identifying the challenge without limiting the possible solutions and success.
The four participating teams displayed their talents in the Bangor Elementary School gymnasium before traveling to Madison to participate in the state tournament at Madison Area Technical College.
“This sharing of long-term problems has turned into an annual event in the district,” Gerke said. “It is a send off for the teams. It also serves as a practice experience for the groups and also hopefully excites the younger children about the program.”
Teams are divided into divisions based on age. Division I students are elementary school aged, with Division II being middle school students and Division III are high school students.
According to Gerke, students can move up a division, but they cannot move down.
Bangor’s Division I team, which is coached by parent Christina Langrehr and BHS freshman Jordan Sackmaster, worked on the long term solution to Problem 5 – Opposites Distract.
The team members consisting of Camdyn Lyga, McKenna Keuler, Violet Hundt, Leah Langrehr, Gracie Giraud and Autumn Everson, placed first at the state tournament in Madison.
For their problem synopsis, the team needed to create and present a humorous performance about a sneaky character that distracts others while trying to take control of anything the team wishes.
In the performance, the character needed to lure others into silly arguments and be successful two times. The arguments were presented using different dramatic styles and included attention-grabbing effects.
In the end, the groups learned that they were intentionally distracted and caught the sneaky character before it took control.
Bangor’s Division II team, which was coached by Rich Brawner, worked on the long term solution to Problem 1 – Omer to the Rescue.
The team members consisting of Brett Brawner, Raeanna Keuler, Colten Schroeder, Sophie Kasser, and Reesa Wiggins, placed second at the state competition.
Bangor Middle School was also represented by Division II team, which was coached by Mel Hart and Angela Klossing, working on a solution to Problem 3 – Classics…Leonardo’s Workshop.
Team members were Alycia Felch, Lucas Reed, Willis Pollock, Karlei Brennan, Jordan Sackmaster and Siri Anderson who placed second at state.
Christina Langrehr and Tiffany Janisch coached the final Bangor team, consisting of Ella Janisch, Ella Hansen, Rylee Lyga, Aubrey Langrehr, Nolan Langrehr, Natalie Kadrmas and Leslie Daines.
They competed in Division II solving Problem 5 - Opposites Distract for a third place finish.