Elementary and Middle Teams Prepare for Binghamton
By Jann Wiswall
It was an exciting day in Wellsville on Saturday, March 15 when two of Ellicottville Central Schools’ Odyssey of the Mind (OM) teams impressed the regional OM competition judges enough to send them on to the state competition.
A Division I (elementary) team, coached by Caitlin Keller with assistance from 12th graders Izzy Brown and McKenzie Robinson (both members of last year’s high school team that went all the way to the World Competition), created a presentation that solved a problem called “The Stackable Structure.”
This problem required teams to “design and build a structure made up of separate components stacked on top of one another.” The structure components had to be made of only balsa wood and glue, and were tested by balancing and supporting weights after they were stacked. Teams were scored for the number of components they used in their final structure. Before they were stacked, the separate components were integrated into an artistic representation of Earth. That presentation, lasting eight minutes, had to incorporate the team’s interpretation of Earth, stacking the components and placing the weights.
OM team members Lucas Adams (grade 5), Kolby Aldrich (grade 5), Jamison Caldwell (grade 5), Matthew Ives (grade 4), Courtney Sexton (grade 5), Gabriel Snyder (grade 5) and Elsa Woodarek (grade 4) based their performance on the story of ”Jack and the Beanstalk,” with Jack finding himself in a giant’s castle looking for a way to get back to earth. However, in their version of the story, instead of a goose who lays golden eggs, the giant has an “Earth Goose” who lays “Earth eggs” containing natural resources. The eggs were the team’s stackable components.
The team’s 126 pound structure (more weight than all of the competing teams combined) truly wowed the judges.
Later that morning, a Division II (middle school) team coached by Aimee Kilby presented a creative solution to the “Seeing is Believing” problem. In this problem, teams were asked “to create and present an original performance about a community that feels threatened by something in a location it has never visited.” The team was required to develop a creative method to select travelers to visit and explore the location and, while there, to send a message home to convince the community that there is nothing to fear. The performance had to include a narrator character, two rhymes about the travels and a moving set piece.
Team members Allison Calarco (grade 6), Abby DeChane (grade 6), Hannah DeChane (grade 8), Madisyn Kilby (grade 6), Megan Stuve (grade 6) and Sammi VanWicklin (grade 6) created a community called “Cloud Kingdom” that was threatened by “floaty objects” and balloons from “Planet Helium.” The team’s creativity, hard work and dedication paid off when they placed first for their division.
Both teams will be working diligently to perfect their performances between now and the state competition in Binghamton on Saturday, April 12.