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Primary Team FAQs

FAQs for Primary Teams

What happens when a team eligible to compete as a Primary team (grades K-2) chooses a non-Primary long-term problem?

Any team that chooses to solve one of the five divisional problems (Vehicle, Technical, Classics, Balsa, and Drama) is considered a divisional team, regardless of the grades of the team members.

  • Example 1: A team of second-graders chooses to solve the Primary problem. This makes them a Primary team, and they will participate as a Primary team for Long-Term and Spontaneous.
  • Example 2: A team of kindergarteners chooses to solve the Balsa problem. This makes them a Division 1 team, and they will compete against other Division 1 teams in Long-Term and Spontaneous.

How many team members can participate on a primary team?

Each primary team is limited to 7 members, just like the other divisions.

In the past, primary teams were permitted to have 8 members, but the Program Guide now clearly states, “Up to seven members may participate on any Odyssey of the Mind team from Primary through Division IV.” There is no exception for primary teams.

How many primary teams can my school enter in the competition?

Every school may have an unlimited number of primary teams per membership, but every team must supply ONE judge and ONE volunteer to help at the Regional Tournament.

Can parents of Primary team students be in the performance?

No. Only the team members may be in the performance, and only the team members may design the team’s solution. This is true in Primary just like in divisional problems.

What can parents of Primary team students watch?

Primary parents may watch the team’s long-term performance. No one outside of the team is allowed to view the Spontaneous peformance.

The Primary team’s problem has specific points for each of the scored elements, yet at the tournament, they are not given a score based on that. Why is that?

As in the competitive divisions, points associated with Primary long-term elements help the team to understand the relative importance of each item. The judges will give feedback in the form of comments so that the team learns how well its solution satisfied the spirit of the problem. We do not provide numeric scores to the Primary teams because this is not a competitive division and teams (and parents) should not be comparing performances looking for “who did best.” All registered team members will be recognized at the conclusion of their team’s performance with positive reinforcement.

Do Primary teams go to the State Tournament?

No. Primary teams participate only in the Regional Tournament.

For Primary teams, how can the coach keep them from “solving the problem” in their first meeting? Can the coach break the problem-solving into steps for them?

Encourage the team to brainstorm various ideas before settling on a theme; however, there is nothing wrong with the team proceeding with their first idea if they are happy with it. Have them consider if a theme will permit a role or task for each team member to enjoy working on. Ultimately, the team must do what they alone decide.

Possible first meeting activities can include brainstorming random topics for practice; a survey of what each member likes to do or things that they are good at doing; and a practice session on painting, cutting, or gluing paper to make random items that can be saved and “re-purposed” for items needed later. All ideas for items need to come from the team members. Then at the second session, the team members (or coach, if none of the team members can yet read) should read the problem and break it into parts and start the brainstorming sessions for each part, theme, etc.

How are the Spontaneous rules “relaxed” for Primary teams?

All team members may go into the room and compete. Also, the coach or an adult may go into the room and sit silently while the team competes. Because of the unique scenarios associated with some of these situations, we request that you contact our Spontaneous Problem Captain for further guidance.

Is the Ranatra Fusca award available for Primary teams?

Yes. The Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award represents the essence of Odyssey of the Mind. It is presented to teams or individuals who exhibit exceptional creativity, either through some aspect of their problem solution or an extraordinary idea beyond the problem solution. The Odyssey of the Mind Program Guide provides additional information; a link to it is available on the Resources page.

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