FAQs for Long-Term Problems
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.
Can you modify the Cost form? It is too tedious to list the exact cost and value within the very tiny area allowed. Or is it possible to fill it out online?
CCI designs and provides the Cost form. The form is available in Microsoft Word format at odysseyofthemind.com to make it easier for teams to fit their information on the form.
If the space is too small to use each line, the team can use every other line; there is no limit to the number of forms permitted. You can contact CCI at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions.
Absolutely. Odyssey encourages individual artistic performances of all kinds as part of team solutions. There are special rules for how to account for musical instruments on the team’s Cost form. You might want to review the Odyssey of the Mind Program Guide for further information; a link to it is available on the Resources page.
Yes. The time limit for each performance is a maximum of 8 minutes. In some problems, such as Classics and Drama, a penalty will be assessed if the performance exceeds 8 minutes and the performance will be stopped at 9 minutes. In other problems, such as Vehicle and Balsa, the performance is simply stopped at 8 minutes. There is no penalty, but teams are not allowed to continue if they haven’t completed all of the assigned tasks. Review the Odyssey of the Mind Program Guide (a link to it is available on the Resources page) and the individual problem statement for further information.
Yes, it is legal to use things like this in a solution. The team should remember, though, that the judges will be scoring them on the creative elements they themselves invent, not on the creativity of the engineers at the Lego company. Also, note that certain items from these construction kits are very expensive even at garage sale prices; used computer bricks for Lego MindStorms®, for example, typically sell for over $100 each on eBay or Craigslist.
If a team advances to different levels (states, worlds), does the performance have to stay exactly the same or can it be changed or improved?
If a team advances to the next level, they can use the same solution or an entirely new solution. Keeping in mind that, at the next level, the team will be competing with teams that placed at their tournaments, they are encouraged to review their scores and decide if there are any elements that they might adjust to present the most effective solution.
There is a limit to seven members on the team. You should not, under any circumstances, have eight different children participate on the same team. If a team has eight members, an outside assistance penalty of 1-100 points will be assessed. The value of the penalty will be determined on tournament day by the judges who watch the performance, based on their assessment of the magnitude of the offense. It is not possible to predict the penalty prior to the performance. You might want to review the Odyssey of the Mind Program Guide for further information; a link to it is available on the Resources page.
Yes, they may use musical instruments, CD/mp3 players (or similar electronics), or computers. Review the Odyssey of the Mind Program Guide (a link to it is available on the Resources page) for further information about “Itemizing items on the Cost Form” in the Penalty section. Musical instruments, computers, and audio video recorders/players may be used, but they have assigned costs that apply to all teams. You should also carefully review the problem statement because sometimes live requirements or other problem-specific rules occur.
The long-term problem synopses for this season can be found on the Synopses page of this web site.
- These synopses are just intended to give teams an introduction to the problems.
- After the school coordinator or sponsor has registered the school at the international Odyssey of the Mind web site for membership, that person will receive copies of the full long-term problem statements, which can then be shared with the teams.Teams must create their solution using the full long-term problem statement because that contains the complete set of rules and requirements for the problem.
- Additional rules that apply to all problems are contained within the Program Guide.
- If there is a clock on the wall in their performance site, the team may look at it.
- Teams are permitted to have a watch or clock of their own, but it must not beep or vibrate to signal time.
- The team’s watch or clock is not official time.
- Teams will not be able to see the official timekeeper’s stopwatch.
- Teams should practice to develop a performance that takes fewer than 8 minutes.
What if a team has a mix of ages? For example, there could be 5 third-graders, 1 fifth-grader, and 1 kindergartener, whose attention span is a little less than the others. Would that be a penalty?
There is no penalty for a short attention span, but remember that the team’s score for “quality of performance” includes everything that happens on stage during the performance. Judges will evaluate the performance of all team members.
It is up to the individual school membership to decide how teams will select a problem. At some schools, the coordinator assigns problems to the teams. At other schools, each team chooses the problem they prefer. Some schools mix these approaches.
If your team gets to choose the problem, one possible process would be to have the team read the synopsis for each problem on our website to see if any of the problems sparks an interest or ideas. Then read the problem statement entirely and take a vote. Remember that Problems 1 (Vehicle), 2 (Technical), and 4 (Balsa Structure) have technical requirements (that is, something has to be built) in addition to the creation of the 8-minute skit.
Yes. You might want to review the Odyssey of the Mind Program Guide for information about team size; a link to it is available on the Resources page.
When a team is performing their 8-minute skit, a membership sign must be visible. The sign shows the official membership name and membership number. Please see the Odyssey of the Mind Program Guide for details; a link to it is available on the Resources page.
For teams competing at the NoVA North Regional Tournament, we recommend that you wait until the tournament schedule is posted to finish work on your membership sign in order to verify what your team’s official membership name and number is. For schools with multiple memberships, you will not be able to determine whether you are Team A or Team B and what your number is until then.
The same long-term problems provided by CCI are used at all levels of competition. Spontaneous problems are different at each tournament; a team will never experience the same one at a competition.
If a team advances to the next level, they can use the same long-term solution or an entirely new solution. Keeping in mind that, at the next level, the team will be competing with teams that placed at their tournaments, they are encouraged to review their scores and decide if there are any elements that they might adjust to present the most effective solution.
The creative emphases are the specific elements of the statement that the problem’s authors consider to be most central. They are spelled out in Part A of the long-term problem statement. Judges are trained to pay the most attention to these emphases in their evaluation of the overall effectiveness and creativity of each performance.
Creative emphasis is another way of formulating the core of the particular problem. There are clues and criteria embedded in all aspects of the problem from the description, spirit, and elements to the glossary and scoring. It all informs on the boundaries and opportunities.
It is possible to have more than one team from a school do the same problem. Each CCI membership permits the school to have one team per problem per division. If the teams doing the same problem are in different divisions (e.g., Division 1 and Division 2), only one school membership is required. If more than one team decides to solve the same problem AND they are in the same division, then the school must purchase an additional membership from CCI for each additional team in that same problem and division.
See Chapter 5 of the Program Guide; a link to it is available on the Resources page. Religious and political themes are permitted, but teams should be aware that much of the scoring is subjective. If the judges consider the presentation to be objectionable or offensive, their scoring will reflect that.
As the tournament is conducted within a Fairfax County public school, teams must also follow any county rules regarding items that may be brought into schools.
It is important for teams to always keep in mind that the judges evaluate their performance based on what they actually see and hear. Whether it is dialogue, props, lyrics, or other actions, there is no room in the Odyssey program for anything that is inappropriate or offensive. Teams should also keep in mind that many times judges do not know the most current songs or lyrics, and so teams should focus on making sure that their performance is effective. Aside from inappropriate, the argument here is ineffectiveness.
In the Odyssey program, there are two organizations involved with your participation in the Regional Tournament. Creative Competitions, Inc. (CCI) is the group that administers the program internationally. Synopses of the problems are posted on the CCI web site. After the coordinator has registered and paid for the membership on the CCI site, they will receive the problem statements in the mail.
Our regional NoVA North organization plans and provides the Regional Tournament, but we do not post the problems on our website since they have to be purchased through the registration process from CCI.
Many problem statements include a “list” described in Part B. It is not “required” (there is no penalty if it isn’t provided); however, it is extremely helpful to provide so that the judges do not miss or misunderstand an element. The list is a valuable tool for the team to assist the judges, where the team can identify and describe briefly the details of their performance and tell the judges when things will happen and what to watch for. List forms are not included in the Program Guide. List forms are available in the Members Area at the Odyssey of the Mind website, which requires the membership number and associated zip code for access. Contact your school coordinator to obtain this information.