Odyssey of the Mind is a problem-solving competition for five member teams in grades K-5 Division 1 of the elementary school. The teams choose from five problems the national organization creates each year. There is one primary problem for grades K-2, a balsa wood construction problem, a vehicle problem and two more problems centered around music and/or composers and art and/or artists. Parents serve as coaches and meet with the team once a week after school on campus or weekends at home. The coaches are careful not to provide the solution, but act as a facilitators, asking questions, providing materials and resources. The children learn how to work as a team and learn problem solving skills. They experience fun and an increase in their self-esteem. Children participate in competitions at the school, sub-regional, regional, state, national and international levels.

FPS is a problem-solving competition involving four team members who research real-life problems. The group arrives at a solution following prescribed guidelines which they have had a chance to refine by working with two practice problems during the year. They have had guidance from their teacher throughout the problem-solving process. The group submits a written paper which explains their solution to this particular problem. Grades 4 and 5 compete and Grades K and 2 may do problem-solving activities without competing.    The impact on the students has many layers. The problem-solving skills they learn can be applied throughout their school years and adult life. They learn to work and cooperate with others by building consensus and encouraging, nurturing, and rewarding creativity. Their self-esteem benefits and their knowledge is increased. Travis' fifth grade team took first-place honors at the state level for the 1997-98 competition.
Fifth graders use this activity as a culmination to their unit on inventors. Students create inventions and present them to their grade level. Judges choose the winner in several categories and awards are given. Students have the experience of creative thinking, problem-solving, assembling and presenting their creation in front of an audience.

The year's science studies culminate in projects for the science fair. Children experience many hands-on problem-solving activities to discover the world of science - earth, life, physical, chemical, zoological and botanical. Three science/garden teachers work with the classes to add to their gardening and nature study experiences.


  • Odyssey of the Mind Awards 1998
  • Future Problem-solvers - State Champions, 1998
  • Young Inventors


1998 - Elizabeth Meaux (3rd Grade Vanguard) $500 awarded from the Greater Heights Education Project for "Let's Explore"

1997 - Margaret Blackstone (2nd Grade Vanguard) $500 awarded from the Greater Heights Education Project for "Woodland Heights Our Neighborhood"




3311 Beauchamp Houston, Texas 77009-6699 Telephone: 713-802-4790 Fax: 713-802-4795
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