Osborne Elementary Odyssey of the Mind team ready to take on world
By Joanne Barron
Published: Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
A group of third-grade students who qualified to compete in an Odyssey of the Mind world competition next month cited several reasons for their success.
Osborne Elementary School students Jhon-Fredy Krebs and Owen Petronick said “cooperation and collaboration” were important to the team, which is the youngest and only the third one in the Quaker Valley School District to qualify for the world tournament.
Fellow Osborne third-grader Lilly Capezzuto said another key aspect was believing “any problem can be solved if you put your mind to it.”
They will travel with team members Stella Christensen, Ilijana Hasak, and Taylor Retzlaff, all Osborne students, and Isabella Bock, who attends Montessori Children's Community in Sewickley, to the world tournament May 22 to 25 at Michigan State University in East Lansing.
The Osborne Elementary-based team qualified for the world competition after winning first places in its division in the Western Pennsylvania Regional Tournament in March at Moon High School and in the state competition April 13 at Pocono Mountain East High School in Swiftwater, Pa.
“It's quite unusual for an all-third-grade team to win the regionals as they did,” said Jeff Christensen, a parent who coaches the team along with parent Michael Bock.
It also was the only team of the nine Quaker Valley teams that participated in regionals to qualify to compete in states this year.
The team chose “Pet Project,” one of five Odyssey of the Mind challenges offered to competitors this year.
Students designed, built and ran three vehicles through obstacles to deliver various “animal parts” to be reassembled into a pet animal that then performed a trick.
At both the regional tournament and state finals, the team not only performed each vehicle perfectly three times, but received the highest total score in the state in its division.
One of its vehicles is propelled through the use of a spring, string, axel, rod and rat trap.
A slingshot and barrel is used for a second, and a third features a deflating balloon and a small pipe.
Team members had eight minutes to complete the project, but at the state finals, they were finished in five.
To go along with a story they wrote and then performed in costumes while competing, they chose a pet bat as the animal.
The bat's trick completed the story involving a sorcerer, played by Owen, who asks the mad scientist, played by Ilijana, to “bat sit” for him while he vacations in the underworld. The mad scientist thinks she's supposed to sit on the bat, which then explodes. She then must retrieve the parts and reassemble the bat before the sorcerer returns home.
Once the bat is reassembled, a slingshot mechanism shoots out a rubber ball that hits the mad scientist, punishing him for sitting on the bat.
Along with the sorcerer and mad scientist costumes, members also created garments related to their methods of vehicle propulsion.
Coach Christensen said it's challenging for third-grade students to design and build working vehicles.
“They tried many different prototypes before they found ideas that worked. They learned to ask themselves, ‘Did it work?' ‘Why? Why not?' ‘If not, what could be done differently?'”
Owen said thinking up the ideas for the vehicles was the hardest part.
“The one that was the most tried and failed was the balloon, but we finally figured it out,” he said.
Christensen said OM students must come up with solutions on their own, without ideas or help of any kind from parents.
“They're not just learning how to solve a problem, they're learning how to problem solve.”
Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Quaker Valley students extend their school day — willingly
- Abandoned vehicles cause concern in Leetsdale
- Leetsdale park, boat ramp could see upgrades
- Quaker Valley board to begin interviewing superintendent candidates
- Sewickley Herald honors: Memorial Day celebration crew recognized
- Photos: Easter egg hunting in Sewickley
- RMU class holds pie-eating contest benefit
- Quaker Valley property owners could face tax increase