Stem Academy Odyssey Of Mind Team Honored

Fond du Lac STEM ‘s Odyssey of the Mind (OotM) team was awarded the Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award in Madison on March 21 and invited to the World Finals at Michigan State University. The team of (front L-R) Sophie Schmidt and Eleanor Sitter; (second row) Miles Dennis, Jared Ott, Alexis Lord (middle), Mason McGrath, and Louis Wagner-Lang concluded months of hard work and dedication by becoming Wisconsin’s latest Ranatra winners for their solution of the problem, “Pandora’s Box.” The team won the overall solution by receiving 187 out of a total 200 points and also won the style category by scoring a perfect 50 points.

            The Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award represents the essence of the Odyssey of the Mind program. It is presented to teams who exhibit exceptional creativity either in some aspect of the problem solution, their behavior, or through an extraordinary idea beyond the problem solution.

The Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award is regarded as the most prestigious honor in Odyssey of the Mind.  This prized award is not given out every year. A team that wins it at the state competition is also invited to the World Finals competition.

            The team’s problem was to create and present an original solution to the classic problem, Pandora’s Box. The team was challenged to put a video game spin on the story of Pandora’s Box. They had to integrate a gamer character inspired by the Greek myth. The game needed to include a prologue that depicted the original story of Pandora’s Box, three characters representing different evils that escaped the box, and a power meter that represented the gamer character’s health. Finally, they had to incorporate a final level of the game where hope was to be released into the world.

            The team also had to develop four specialty items to be scored in the style category. The team chose the overall construction, design, and engineering of their team-created set as well as their artwork for this category.

The final element of Odyssey of the Mind is called spontaneous.  In the spontaneous portion of the competition, students must generate a solution to a never seen problem through quick thinking and working as a team.   

             The six-month process included the OotM team researching Greek mythology, scientific principles, special effects, different types of communication, music history, figurative language,and stage techniques.  The team also developed creative problem-solving strategies, a script, and building plans. In addition, students operated power tools safely and integrated art and music into their solution. Students then combined all their acquired knowledge and skills to create the eight-minute production.

            The students will represent Fond du Lac and the state of Wisconsin at Michigan State University in East Lansing on May 19 through May 23.  At the World Finals, they will compete against future world leaders from over 33 countries.

            The team’s journey to Michigan State will start with further work on their team-created solution and fundraising to make the trip possible.  Anyone wishing to learn more about the team’s odyssey or aid in financing the trip may contact Archie Barribeau at the STEM Academy.