Published March 23rd, 2016
Several Lamorinda Teams Advance to Odyssey of the Mind Finals
By Jennifer Wake
Moraga Rotary Division II middle school team took home first place. From left: Ryan Erickson-King, Sebastian Fojut, Alex Clare, Jack Erickson-King, Jenny Clare (coach), Vishal Laskari, and Zachary Yu. Photos provided
Teams from Burton Valley, Glorietta and Del Rey elementary schools, Orinda Intermediate School, as well as Moraga Rotary, Lafayette Rotary and Orinda Rotary, competed for and landed either first or second place in their divisions Feb. 27 in the Odyssey of the Mind regional competition in Concord.
Founded in 1978 by Dr. Sam Micklus, who challenged his industrial design students to create vehicles without wheels, mechanical pie throwers and flotation devices that would take them across a course on a lake, The Odyssey of the Mind program teaches students how to identify challenges and to think creatively, take risks and apply ingenuity to solve problems.
One of this year's problems posed, called "Something Fishy," required teams to design and operate a technical apparatus that simulated multiple styles of fishing, with a fisher character working from a designated area to catch three different objects on the move - something expected, something unexpected, and a new discovery. Another problem, "No Cycle Recycle," had teams build, ride on, and drive a vehicle to pick up discarded items, adapt them in some way, and then deliver them to places to be re-used. The vehicle had to travel without pedaling for propulsion.
Team members worked together under strict rules and guidelines to answer the problems as creatively as possible and were rewarded for thinking "outside of the box."
Other problem categories included "Classics ... Aesop Gone Viral," "Stack Attack," "Furs, Fins, Feathers and Friends," and "Stir the Pot." The winning teams will be going on to compete in the state tournament on April 2 in Riverside, Calif., with winners from that competition will face off against teams from across the country at the World Finals May 25-28 at Iowa State University.
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Moraga Rotary Division I elementary school fifth-grade team also took home top honors. From left: Anna Dendinger, Paige Davis, Lillian Yu (coach), Alexandra Yu, Stefanie Moore, Mira Shah, Josie Hayes and Annie Coane.

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