Elementary problem solvers earn world title
Posted on 06/16/2020
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A Thornebrooke Elementary School team earned a first place finish in the Odyssey of the Mind’s Virtual World Finals, an international creative problem-solving competition.

Seven students perform their skit Thornebrooke’s A team is the Division 1 world champion in the technical problem, “Net Working,” beating 60 other elementary schools. The problem included creating a device with three 5-foot-long segments used to transport messages without human intervention. The team’s solution combined scientific and artistic elements in a humorous skit about the evil Pluto’s plans to take over the galaxy, since he had been kicked out of the planet club. The three segments were “a helium powered gondola, a boat floating along a true milky way, and a homemade robot rover with an ultrasonic cutoff,” which they started working on last September.

Thornebrooke’s performance also earned the prestigious Ranatra Fusca Award, given to only 15 teams out of the 843 participating. This award recognizes exceptional creativity and risk-taking solutions. The team was the only one   of 101 Florida teams that received the coveted prize.

“I am impressed by their level of commitment, enthusiasm and attention to detail,” Christopher Daniels, Thornebrooke principal, said.

Walker Middle, a Title 1 school, placed 10th overall in the Division 2 “Net Working” problem. This team was especially excited about being the OotM Regional Champions, where they were the only team to break the 300 point barrier and the only OCPS middle school to win gold in their category. They used that momentous moment to help fine tune their solution to earn the school its first world placement.

Additional OCPS teams that placed:
Thornebrooke Elementary C team, “Classics,” 7th in subdivision 1-B
Thornebrooke Elementary B team, “Classics,” 12th in subdivision 1-B
Gotha Middle, “Net working,” 17th in Division 2-A
College Park Middle, “Balsa Limbo,” 28th in Division 2
Edgewater High, “Gibberish or not,” 15th in Division 3

More than 800 teams from the 23 countries and nearly every state in the U.S. competed in one or more of Odyssey’s Long Term Problems. The 2020 World Finals was going to be held at Iowa State University until COVID-19 prohibited an in-person event. Rather than cancel, OotM transitioned to a virtual platform using Zoom video conferencing to allow teams to record their solutions and then a panel of judges evaluated.

Here is the full list of winners.

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