Coming Soon: Spont Day!

The LA Basin region hosts an annual event dedicated to practicing Spontaneous.  Over the course of the day, teams will solve 8 problems and receive valuable feedback.  Problems are facilitated by our region’s own coaches and parents, making this a unique learning experience for all participants!

Here’s how it works…

Each team that registers will be assigned a Spont problem.  It is the coach’s (or a designated parent’s) responsibility to practice that problem several times with their team.  On Spont Day, that coach/parent should bring sufficient materials to run their assigned problem a total of 8 times.  While their team visits other stations, the coach/parent will run their assigned problem for 8 teams from other schools.

A coach is welcome to travel with their team from station to station, as long as a designated parent is available to run their assigned problem.  It’s required that this person has practiced this problem with their team prior to attending Spont Day.

While the students practice Spont, we’ll hold some fun and informative parent workshops.  We invite parents and other family members to attend these sessions.  We also ask that parents provide snacks for a scheduled break in the teams’ day.  (Some food will be available for purchase.)

This year’s Spont Day will be held on December 13th at Wise School.

Spont Day Schedule
12:00 – 1:00 — Arrival & setup
1:00 – 1:15 — Opening ceremony
1:30 – 3:00 — Teams solve 5 problems / Parents attend workshops
3:00 – 3:20 — Snack break
3:20 – 4:20 — Teams solve 3 problems / Parents may observe teams
4:30 – 5:00 — Closing ceremony/wrap-up

Registration for this event ended November 25th at 6pm.

Critical Dates

Important dates, deadlines and locations below.  Mark your calendars now!

Logo contest submissions:  November 13, 2015

Spont Day registration deadline: November 29, 2015 November 25, 2015 (updated November 8)

Spont Day:  December 13, 2015 @ Wise Elementary School, Los Angeles

Tournament registration deadline:  January 8, 2016 (accepted until January 22 with late fee)

Judges registration deadline:  January 22, 2016

Judges training:  February 20, 2016 @ Village Glen School, Sherman Oaks
(All judges must attend training.)

LA Basin Regional Tournament:  February 27, 2016 @ San Marino High School

CA State Tournament:  April 2, 2016 @ UC Riverside

Logo Contest

The annual logo contest is on!  The winning submission will be featured on the official 2016 LA Basin regional t-shirts as well as our Regional Tournament program.  We invite all interested team members to submit a design.

Shirts will be for sale during team registration and at the Regional Tournament.  The winning design will earn free t-shirts for their entire team, including the coach (and co-coaches) listed on the regional registration form.  They’ll also get credit on the shirt itself and associated bragging rights.

So teams, set your creativity loose!

Your problem is to design a logo for the LA Basin Region.  The following limitations apply to all submissions.

  1. Only team members may submit designs.
  2. This does not have to be a collaborative effort — the design may be produced by one or more members of a team.
  3. Designs may be produced on a computer or by hand and then scanned.
  4. Designs do NOT have to be production ready.  We will process the winning submission into a high quality graphic.
  5. The design is limited to one background color (the color of the shirt) and two ink colors.
  6. This year’s design theme is KNOW Outside Assistance.
  7. Text should be kept to a minimum, as the image is most important.  However, each design MUST include the
    –The phrase “LA Odyssey
    –The year “2016

Designs are due November 13th, 2015, at 6:00pm.  They should be submitted via email to

The winner will be revealed at Spont Day (December 13th) and then announced online.

Have fun and be creative!

Please note:  Questions about these limitations will not be answered.  The Regional Board reserves the right to make minor modifications to the winning design (color, size, etc.).

Summertime Odyssey Outside Assistance Contest!

This is a contest!! It is open to anyone who has ever participated in Odyssey of the Mind as a team member. (Even if it was so long ago you hardly remember it!) Submissions must be made by a team of at least 2 members: the maximum number is 7.

Submissions must be in the form of either:

a video shorter than 5 minutes, or

a slideshow of no more than 16 still images. Each still image must be accompanied by a short caption (100 words maximum).

All submissions must include a scanned and completed copy of the media release form (included at the end of this document): our goal is to use some or all of the submissions as part of an Outside Assistance Primer that we want to create on our website.

You are not required to fill out an outside assistance form, but the rules against Outside Assistance apply in this contest. Let the honor system be your guide.

A coach is not required, but you grown ups will probably want to be available: younger children might need a little stewardship to understand the “spirit of the problem”, and/or the criteria for judging it; and the team might need a safety officer if it’s using unfamiliar equipment. We’ll leave that up to you.

First place in Divisions I (including Primary), II, and III won’t have to pay the $70 to register for the tournament next year. (But if you register late, you’ll still have to pay the penalty!!!). We’re working on other prizes too: we’re not sure what they are yet.

The Division of your team will be determined by the Division you participated in last year (and yes, the prize is transferable: winners can assign it to whatever membership they choose). If you haven’t been on a team in two years, you may still submit a solution. You’ll be in Division IV. We might give you a prize, too. But we know that you all will do it just because it sounds like so much fun. Right? :)

The guidelines for the solution to be presented are as follows:

Summertime Odyssey: “Know Outside Assistance”

Outside Assistance is a obstacle that every team faces. OA can happen at any time (at the tournament; at a meeting; around the house; at school; …..anywhere), and it takes many forms. There is an overview of it in the Program Guide, but there are not many actual examples, or much discussion about why it’s even a rule.

Your problem is to present 2 different examples of Outside Assistance. Each example must show:

  1. a)  An event: Outside Assistance from one or more characters who are not on a team. This event can be verbal or hands-on.
  2. b)  A character who does “know Outside Assistance”. This character can be anyone or anything, real or imaginary. It will communicate how the event weakens a team’s exploration and ownership of its solution.



Submissions will be judged by three of our Problem Captains. Winning submissions will be chosen based on:

1. How accurately each event in 2.a) demonstrates Outside Assistance
2. The creativity of the character in 2.b)
3. How successfully that character communicates “how the event weakens a team’s exploration

and ownership of it’s solution”.

Entries must be submitted via email to no later than Sunday, September 6th, 2015.  Please remember to include the Media Release PDF which can be downloaded here.

2015 LA Basin Tournament Scores

LA Basin Regional Tournament
28 February 2015
Runaway ‘Train’ Results Div I Div II Div III
Experiencing Technical Difficulties Results Div I Div II Div III
Pandora’s Box Results Div I Div II Div III
Lose Your Marbles Results Div I Div II
Silent Movie Results Div I Div II Div III

Advancing teams in BOLD

Runaway ‘Train’ Div I

Pos Name & Location                Number        Long   Style  Spont Total/
                                                 Term                Pnlty

 1 SANTA ROSA TECH MAGNET SCH       40824 Calc: 200.00  43.75  99.64 343.39
   Camarillo, CA                           Raw: 153.35  24.50 138.50   0

 2 WELBY WAY CHARTER ELE SCH        41483 Calc: 199.54  50.00  50.18 297.72
   West Hills, CA                          Raw: 153.00  28.00  69.75   2

 3 CHANDLER SCHOOL C                43362 Calc: 161.72  37.50  92.45 288.67
   Pasadena, CA                            Raw: 124.00  21.00 128.50   3

 4 EARTHS MAGNET SCHOOL             40619 Calc: 136.07  23.21  86.15 242.43
   Newbury Park, CA                        Raw: 104.33  13.00 119.75   3

 5 ACACIA ELEMENTARY SCH            25399 Calc: 128.26  20.54  71.76 216.56
   Thousand Oaks, CA                       Raw:  98.34  11.50  99.75   4

 6 BROOKSIDE ELE SCH A              43351 Calc: 180.42  21.43  12.05 212.90
   Oak Park, CA                            Raw: 138.34  12.00  16.75   1

 7 LANG RANCH ELE SCH A             42575 Calc:  55.19  34.82 100.00 188.01
   Thousand oaks, CA                       Raw:  42.32  19.50 139.00   2

 8 ROBINSON ELE SCH                 38000 Calc:  77.81  45.54  53.06 176.41
   Manhattan Beach, CA                     Raw:  59.66  25.50  73.75   0

 9 LONGDEN ELE SCH                  35188 Calc:  53.50  21.43  97.30 172.23
   Temple City, CA                         Raw:  41.02  12.00 135.25   0

10 HICKORY ELEMENTARY SCH B         43277 Calc:  92.61  38.39  34.53 161.53
   Torrance, CA                            Raw:  71.01  21.50  48.00   4

11 MAPLE ELE SCH                    43254 Calc:  95.64  33.93  32.37 156.94
   Newbury Park, CA                        Raw:  73.33  19.00  45.00   5

12 BROADWAY ELE MANDARIN IMM SCH    43024 Calc: 103.03  23.21  13.49 134.73
   Los Angeles, CA                         Raw:  79.00  13.00  18.75   5

13 CHIME CHARTER SCH                38106 Calc:  87.80  27.68  10.97 126.45
   Woodland Hills, CA                      Raw:  67.32  15.50  15.25   0

14 ASPEN ELE SCH                    30076 Calc:  81.72  23.21   9.17 114.10
   Thousand Oaks, CA                       Raw:  62.66  13.00  12.75   0


Runaway ‘Train’ Div II

Pos Name & Location                Number        Long   Style  Spont Total/
                                                 Term                Pnlty

 1 SANTA ROSA TECH MAGNET SCH       40824 Calc: 198.16  50.00 100.00 348.16
   Camarillo, CA                           Raw: 142.99  39.00 107.75   0

 2 MEDIA CREEK MID SCH A            13989 Calc: 200.00  46.79  92.58 339.37
   Oak Park, CA                            Raw: 144.32  36.50  99.75   0

 3 ASSUMPTION OF BLESSED VIR MARY   37540 Calc: 165.38  28.85  78.19 272.42
   Pasadena, CA                            Raw: 119.34  22.50  84.25   0

 4 SEQUOIA MID SCH                  37394 Calc: 109.01  47.44  90.26 246.71
   Newbury Park, CA                        Raw:  78.66  37.00  97.25   0

 5 HOLMES MID SCH                   37869 Calc:  79.92  35.90  95.36 211.18
   Northridge, CA                          Raw:  57.67  28.00 102.75   0


Runaway ‘Train’ Div III

Pos Name & Location                Number        Long   Style  Spont Total/
                                                 Term                Pnlty

 1 VILLAGE GLEN VALLEY SCH          40789 Calc: 200.00  50.00 100.00 350.00
   Sherman Oaks, CA                        Raw: 159.32  36.00  75.67   0


Experiencing Technical Difficulties Div I

Pos Name & Location                Number        Long   Style  Spont Total/
                                                 Term                Pnlty

 1 OAK HILLS ELE SCH                43352 Calc: 188.64  38.31 100.00 323.95
   Oak Park, CA                            Raw: 166.00  29.50 109.00   3

 2 WISE SCH                         28440 Calc: 200.00  50.00  68.81 318.81
   Los Angeles, CA                         Raw: 176.00  38.50  75.00   0

 3 CHIME CHARTER SCH                38106 Calc: 199.43  31.82  77.98 309.23
   Woodland Hills, CA                      Raw: 175.50  24.50  85.00   0

 4 BROOKSIDE ELE SCH A              43351 Calc: 157.39  32.47  52.29 242.15
   Oak Park, CA                            Raw: 138.50  25.00  57.00   0

 5 WELBY WAY CHARTER ELE SCH        41483 Calc: 121.02  45.45  61.47 207.94
   West Hills, CA                          Raw: 106.50  35.00  67.00  20


Experiencing Technical Difficulties Div II

Pos Name & Location                Number        Long   Style  Spont Total/
                                                 Term                Pnlty

 1 SANTA ROSA TECH MAGNET SCH       40824 Calc: 200.00  50.00 100.00 350.00
   Camarillo, CA                           Raw: 146.50  38.50 126.00   0


Experiencing Technical Difficulties Div III

Pos Name & Location                Number        Long   Style  Spont Total/
                                                 Term                Pnlty

 1 WALNUT H S                       31290 Calc: 200.00  50.00 100.00 350.00
   Walnut, CA                              Raw: 114.00  16.50  81.67   0


Pandora’s Box Div I

Pos Name & Location                Number        Long   Style  Spont Total/
                                                 Term                Pnlty

 1 LANG RANCH ELE SCH A             42575 Calc: 191.57  50.00  80.88 322.45
   Thousand oaks, CA                       Raw: 173.68  47.35  82.50   0

 2 WISE SCH                         28440 Calc: 200.00  45.06  75.98 321.04
   Los Angeles, CA                         Raw: 181.32  42.67  77.50   0

 3 MADRONA ELE SCH                  41005 Calc: 164.34  43.63 100.00 307.97
   Thousand Oaks, CA                       Raw: 148.99  41.32 102.00   0

 4 BANYAN ELE SCH                   38320 Calc: 179.78  47.52  67.65 294.95
   Newbury Park, CA                        Raw: 162.99  45.00  69.00   0

 5 HAMILTON ELE SCH                 10873 Calc: 187.54  43.29  60.05 290.88
   Pasadena, CA                            Raw: 170.02  41.00  61.25   0

 6 HOLLYWOOD SCHOOLHOUSE            28025 Calc: 157.73  38.37  86.27 282.37
   LA, CA                                  Raw: 143.00  36.34  88.00   0

 7 THE CHANDLER SCHOOL              43213 Calc: 182.00  40.84  54.66 277.50
   Pasadena, CA                            Raw: 165.00  38.68  55.75   0

 8 BROOKSIDE ELE SCH B              43470 Calc: 195.61  44.35  36.03 275.99
   Oak Park, CA                            Raw: 177.34  42.00  36.75   0

 8 CHIME CHARTER SCH                38106 Calc: 182.36  39.07  53.92 275.35
   Woodland Hills, CA                      Raw: 165.33  37.00  55.00   0

 9 ASPEN ELE SCH                    30076 Calc: 172.07  43.28  64.71 273.06
   Thousand Oaks, CA                       Raw: 156.00  40.99  66.00   7

10 EARTHS MAGNET SCHOOL             40619 Calc: 185.69  36.96  43.14 265.79
   Newbury Park, CA                        Raw: 168.35  35.00  44.00   0

11 LANG RANCH ELE SCH B             43444 Calc: 167.67  39.44  52.21 258.32
   Thousand Oaks, CA                       Raw: 152.01  37.35  53.25   1

11 SYCAMORE CANYON SCH A            33708 Calc: 153.68  42.24  62.01 257.93
   Newbury Park, CA                        Raw: 139.33  40.00  63.25   0

12 WESTLAKE ELEMENTARY SCH          43350 Calc: 163.61  36.96  53.19 253.76
   Westlake Village , CA                   Raw: 148.33  35.00  54.25   0

13 SANTA ROSA TECH MAGNET SCH       40824 Calc: 145.61  30.26  51.47 227.34
   Camarillo, CA                           Raw: 132.01  28.66  52.50   0

14 SYCAMORE CANYON SCH B            39741 Calc: 163.61  34.14  32.11 225.86
   newbury park, ca                        Raw: 148.33  32.33  32.75   4

15 ACACIA ELEMENTARY SCH            25399 Calc: 131.98  36.61  47.79 211.38
   Thousand Oaks, CA                       Raw: 119.65  34.67  48.75   5

16 BROOKSIDE ELE SCH A              43351 Calc: 106.61  22.52  34.07 162.20
   Oak Park, CA                            Raw:  96.65  21.33  34.75   1


Pandora’s Box Div II

Pos Name & Location                Number        Long   Style  Spont Total/
                                                 Term                Pnlty

 1 MANHATTAN BEACH MID SCH          38001 Calc: 200.00  50.00  89.32 339.32
   Manhattan Beach, CA                     Raw: 161.67  40.50  98.25   0

 2 SEQUOIA MID SCH                  37394 Calc: 197.92  36.42  95.45 329.79
   Newbury Park, CA                        Raw: 159.99  29.50 105.00   0

 3 OAK AVENUE INT SCH               35189 Calc: 198.34  41.98  86.14 326.46
   Temple City, CA                         Raw: 160.33  34.00  94.75   0

 4 REDWOOD MID SCH                  42359 Calc: 181.42  34.57 100.00 315.99
   Thousand Oaks, CA                       Raw: 146.65  28.00 110.00   0

 5 CHIME CHARTER SCH                38106 Calc: 183.91  37.04  95.45 306.40
   Woodland Hills, CA                      Raw: 148.66  30.00 105.00  10

 6 HOLMES MID SCH                   37869 Calc: 125.76  30.86  92.95 249.57
   Northridge, CA                          Raw: 101.66  25.00 102.25   0

 7 ISLAMIC SOCIETY-SANTA BARBARA    43101 Calc: 188.04  35.80  35.23 247.07
   Goleta , CA                             Raw: 152.00  29.00  38.75  12

 8 LOS PRIMEROS SCH                 43219 Calc: 146.37  31.48  87.95 235.80
   Camarillo, CA                           Raw: 118.32  25.50  96.75  30

 9 ASSUMPTION OF BLESSED VIR MARY   37540 Calc: 110.13  30.86  87.50 228.49
   Pasadena, CA                            Raw:  89.02  25.00  96.25   0


Pandora’s Box Div III

Pos Name & Location                Number        Long   Style  Spont Total/
                                                 Term                Pnlty

 1 NEWBURY PARK HIGH SCHOOL         42250 Calc: 200.00  50.00 100.00 350.00
   Thousand Oaks , CA                      Raw: 174.33  39.00  92.33   0

 2 VILLAGE GLEN VALLEY SCH          40789 Calc: 167.88  48.08  97.12 303.08
   Sherman Oaks, CA                        Raw: 146.33  37.50  89.67  10


Lose Your Marbles Div I

Pos Name & Location                Number       Wt Hld  Long   Style  Spont Total/
                                                        Term                Pnlty

 1 EVERGREEN ELE SCH                43019 Calc: 150.00 188.25  30.07 100.00 318.32
   Chino Hills, CA                         Raw: 597.00  33.66  25.66 116.00   0

 2 LANG RANCH ELE SCH B             43444 Calc:  93.47 133.63  39.84  86.21 256.68
   Thousand Oaks, CA                       Raw: 372.00  35.34  34.00 100.00   3

 3 WELBY WAY CHARTER ELE SCH        41483 Calc:  59.55 109.55  50.00  89.66 249.21
   West Hills, CA                          Raw: 237.00  44.00  42.67 104.00   0

 4 SANTA BARBARA EDUCATION FOUNDN   43273 Calc:  18.09  61.66  33.98  79.31 174.95
   Santa Barbara, CA                       Raw:  72.00  38.34  29.00  92.00   0

 5 LANG RANCH ELE SCH A             42575 Calc:  18.09  58.61  26.56  86.21 171.38
   Thousand oaks, CA                       Raw:  72.00  35.66  22.67 100.00   0

 6 SYCAMORE CANYON SCH A            33708 Calc:  11.81  46.65  25.38  62.93 132.96
   Newbury Park, CA                        Raw:  47.00  30.66  21.66  73.00   2

 7 CHANDLER SCHOOL B                43361 Calc:  11.81  32.26  18.36  78.45 128.07
   Pasadena, CA                            Raw:  47.00  18.00  15.67  91.00   1

 8 BROADWAY ELE MANDARIN IMM SCH    43024 Calc:   8.04  28.87  29.31  56.03 114.21
   Los Angeles, CA                         Raw:  32.00  18.33  25.01  65.00   0

 9 OAK HILLS ELE SCH                43352 Calc:   6.78  34.05  22.26  57.76 108.07
   Oak Park, CA                            Raw:  27.00  24.00  19.00  67.00   6


Lose Your Marbles Div II

Pos Name & Location                Number       Wt Hld  Long   Style  Spont Total/
                                                        Term                Pnlty

 1 ASSUMPTION OF BLESSED VIR MARY   37540 Calc: 150.00 200.00  50.00 100.00 350.00
   Pasadena, CA                            Raw: 142.00  36.00  34.34  83.00   0


Silent Movie Div I

Pos Name & Location                Number        Long   Style  Spont Total/
                                                 Term                Pnlty

 1 SANTA ROSA TECH MAGNET SCH       40824 Calc: 199.65  45.51 100.00 345.16
   Camarillo, CA                           Raw: 173.35  35.50  89.50   0

 2 PEABODY CHARTER SCH A            28559 Calc: 200.00  50.00  92.74 342.74
   Santa Barbara, CA                       Raw: 173.65  39.00  83.00   0

 3 WASHINGTON ELE SCH               40679 Calc: 192.32  41.03  98.88 332.23
   Santa Barbara, CA                       Raw: 166.98  32.00  88.50   0

 4 LONGDEN ELE SCH                  35188 Calc: 198.09  44.87  86.03 328.99
   Temple City, CA                         Raw: 171.99  35.00  77.00   0

 5 WELBY WAY CHARTER ELE SCH        41483 Calc: 193.87  42.31  58.66 294.84
   West Hills, CA                          Raw: 168.33  33.00  52.50   0

 5 BROOKSIDE ELE SCH A              43351 Calc: 198.09  32.69  63.41 294.19
   Oak Park, CA                            Raw: 171.99  25.50  56.75   0

 5 WISE SCH                         28440 Calc: 189.28  44.87  59.78 293.93
   Los Angeles, CA                         Raw: 164.34  35.00  53.50   0

 6 HOLLYWOOD SCHOOLHOUSE            28025 Calc: 193.88  34.62  62.85 291.35
   LA, CA                                  Raw: 168.34  27.00  56.25   0

 7 MADRONA ELE SCH                  41005 Calc: 190.05  35.90  77.93 288.88
   Thousand Oaks, CA                       Raw: 165.01  28.00  69.75  15

 8 ASPEN ELE SCH                    30076 Calc: 197.35  47.44  53.35 279.14
   Thousand Oaks, CA                       Raw: 171.35  37.00  47.75  19

 9 LOS PRIMEROS SCH                 43219 Calc: 162.78  33.97  87.15 273.90
   Camarillo, CA                           Raw: 141.33  26.50  78.00  10

10 SYCAMORE CANYON SCH A            33708 Calc: 190.81  38.46  45.25 272.52
   Newbury Park, CA                        Raw: 165.67  30.00  40.50   2

10 LADERA ELE SCH                   40975 Calc: 190.43  42.95  38.83 272.21
   Thousand Oaks, CALIFORNIA               Raw: 165.34  33.50  34.75   0

11 PACIFIC ELE SCH                  39789 Calc: 162.75  34.62  52.23 249.60
   Manhattan Beach, CA                     Raw: 141.31  27.00  46.75   0

12 LANG RANCH ELE SCH A             42575 Calc: 178.50  39.10  28.49 246.09
   Thousand oaks, CA                       Raw: 154.98  30.50  25.50   0

13 HICKORY ELEMENTARY SCH A         43246 Calc: 196.97  32.05  63.97 227.99
   Torrance, CA                            Raw: 171.02  25.00  57.25  65

14 RED OAK ELE SCH                  43353 Calc: 132.07  27.56  86.87 214.50
   Oak Park, CA                            Raw: 114.67  21.50  77.75  32


Silent Movie Div II

Pos Name & Location                Number        Long   Style  Spont Total/
                                                 Term                Pnlty

 1 CHANDLER SCHOOL A                35403 Calc: 200.00  46.48  98.44 344.92
   Pasadena, CA                            Raw: 153.66  39.34 126.00   0

 2 MANHATTAN BEACH MID SCH          38001 Calc: 200.00  38.99  97.66 336.65
   Manhattan Beach, CA                     Raw: 153.66  33.00 125.00   0

 3 CHAPARRAL MID SCH                43022 Calc: 195.24  50.00  92.97 333.21
   Diamond Bar, CA                         Raw: 150.00  42.32 119.00   5

 4 SANTA ROSA TECH MAGNET SCH       40824 Calc: 195.65  37.03  97.66 330.34
   Camarillo, CA                           Raw: 150.32  31.34 125.00   0

 5 MEDEA CREEK MID SCH B            43471 Calc: 189.63  33.48 100.00 323.11
   Oak Park, CA                            Raw: 145.69  28.34 128.00   0

 6 PEABODY CHARTER SCH A            28559 Calc: 185.25  35.05  94.53 314.83
   Santa Barbara, CA                       Raw: 142.33  29.67 121.00   0

 7 VILLAGE GLEN VALLEY SCH          40789 Calc: 196.54  37.41  78.12 309.07
   Sherman Oaks, CA                        Raw: 151.00  31.66 100.00   3

 8 MEDIA CREEK MID SCH A            13989 Calc: 176.12  37.41  82.81 296.34
   Oak Park, CA                            Raw: 135.31  31.66 106.00   0

 9 SEQUOIA MID SCH                  37394 Calc: 167.46  36.22  91.41 295.09
   Newbury Park, CA                        Raw: 128.66  30.66 117.00   0

10 LONGDEN ELE SCH                  35188 Calc: 164.41  33.08  98.44 292.93
   Temple City, CA                         Raw: 126.32  28.00 126.00   3

11 REDWOOD MID SCH                  42359 Calc: 163.97  37.81  79.69 281.47
   Thousand Oaks, CA                       Raw: 125.98  32.00 102.00   0

12 SANTA BARBARA CHARTER SCHOOL     43131 Calc: 163.56  34.65  79.69 269.90
   Santa Barbara, CA                       Raw: 125.66  29.33 102.00   8

13 ASSUMPTION OF BLESSED VIR MARY   37540 Calc: 160.54  27.95  75.78 248.27
   Pasadena, CA                            Raw: 123.34  23.66  97.00  16


Silent Movie Div III

Pos Name & Location                Number        Long   Style  Spont Total/
                                                 Term                Pnlty

 1 NEWBURY PARK HIGH SCHOOL         42250 Calc: 200.00  50.00  90.70 340.70
   Thousand Oaks , CA                      Raw: 141.00  30.00  91.00   0

 2 CHIME INSTITUTE                  43227 Calc: 176.37  31.67 100.00 308.04
   Woodland Hills, CA                      Raw: 124.34  19.00 100.33   0

 3 VILLAGE GLEN VALLEY SCH          40789 Calc: 132.88  20.00  46.18 180.06
   Sherman Oaks, CA                        Raw:  93.68  12.00  46.33  19


Frequently Asked Questions

Editors Note: This file is complete, but some formatting is not yet good for all browsers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

FAQs: These are the questions we are asked most often each year.

1. Where can I learn more about Odyssey of the Mind

A. On this website!!. It has recently been redesigned and reorganized to provide as much nformation as possible to as many different interest levels as possible.

B. If you’ve been told that the program is fun, engaging, and educational for kids, and you’re puzzled about “how educational and fun can coexist in the same sentence”, start with this article from the Smithsonian.

C. Read everything else on the site that you’re curious about. Then read the first 20 pages or so of the Program Guide on the national site.

D. But read this first. The most effective way to learn more about Odyssey of the Mind is to get involved. It’s been said that trying to explain it is like trying to explain how to tie your shoes over the telephone.

2. How can I get my child on an Odyssey of the Mind team?

This question oftentimes assumes that the regional board is involved in team formation. We are not. Our purpose is to organize regional events that fulfill the educational goals of the program, and to insure they run as smoothly as possible. There is only one direct and foolproof method to get your child on a team, and that is to become a coach yourself. But if the thought of coaching  feels too intimidating, or your life is too busy to undertake the commitment, there is a successful alternative. You can generate interest in your community (link to “finding a coach”), and try and get someone else to coach a team. If these approaches feel like too much effort, it may be that Odyssey of the Mind is not what you need it to be for your family. But you are welcome to join our Yahoo group and ask other coaches if their team would like to have your child as a member.  In our experience, however, this method has never answered the question of how to get a child involved in the program.

3. What is the cost of participation in Odyssey of the Mind?

A. To bring a team to the regional tournament, the financial costs per child are minimal. Most of them are outlined in Item 1 (“Required Registration and  Fees”) of the Coaches Checklist

B.  Another cost that is important to include in any financial consideration is the Long Term problem budget: Each team will choose one Long Term problem to solve. Each of these problems has a budget of approximately $140. This is the value of all materials that appear during the course of the team’s presentation of it’s solution at the tournament. There is a detailed discussion of this topic, starting on page 46 of the written copy and page 51 of the .pdf version, in theProgram Guide. But it’s important to emphasize here that Odyssey of the Mind encourages children to explore ideas and experiment. The problem budget sets a limit on the cost of a team’s “finished product”, i.e., it’s solution as presented to the judges: it does not set a restriction on what the team may spend in the development of  that solution.  Adventurous teams may spend more.

C. Teams advancing to the State tournament, or the World tournament, will incur additional costs. There is lodging, food, travel, and -in some cases- shipping of the team’s solution to the tournament location that must be considered. For planning and fundraising purposes, a reasonable estimate of these expenses for the team and it’s coach(es) is $150/person for the State tournament, and  $1200/person for the World tournament.

4. I want to get involved. What kind of time commitment is necessary?

A. Coaching

1.The amount of time an individual spends coaching will vary. A team and it’s coach must determine the number and lengths of their meetings. This will depend on the coach’s schedule and the schedules of the kids, with some sensitivity to the age of the children. Generally, at the outset, teams will meet once a week. One hour goes by very quickly, unless your coaching style provides a very structured environment. Many teams meetings are 1½ to 2 hours

2. In addition to the time a coach spends with the team, there is also some preparation time that’s necessary each week. Even after becoming familiar with the Program Guide and the Long Term problem that the team chooses to solve, a coach must prepare at least one Spontaneous problem each week. This can take an hour or two.

3. Lastly, there is the “crunch time” leading up to the tournament.  The Coaches Checklist on our site is very thorough. In addition to guiding a coach through the important necessities of a team’s obligations to the region and its solution, the checklist suggests a timeline that can minimize the need for extra or longer meetings as the tournament approaches. But not all coaching styles or team dynamics allow for such linear simplicity. Some flexibility may be necessary. Ultimately, the kids and their coach will determine what’s necessary to be ready for the tournament. For the purposes of answering this question, it’s wise to be able to set aside additional time the last month before the tournament.

4. Don’t let these guidelines deter you from coaching. Like anything that is worthwhile, it is not without it’s challenges. But the rewards of discovering what children can do on their own are well worth it. If the time commitment is the only problem, remember that co-coaching is an acceptable solution.

B. Judging

1. The commitment to judging is one 6 hour day of training and all day at the tournament. Each team participating at the regional tournament must provide one person 18 years or older who is willing to judge: it is a required part of tournament registration. Judges that represent teams or have children participating on a team at the tournament will not be able to see those performances

2. Important judging dates vary slightly each year. They are availablehere.

C. I want to help out at the tournament, but cannot be a judge

1. The tournament has a variety of jobs that are filled each year by volunteers. Please contact our Tournament Director for more information.

FAQs: Parents and Family (with a thank you to the generosity of the Virginia OotM website “Voices”)

How much will it cost for my child to participate?

For most students, the total cost to participate for the year is no more than $30.00 – $50.00, and is often even less. Assessed fees might include a share of the       membership application fee, a contribution to purchase supplies for the long-term problem, a tournament fee of approximately $10 per child, and maybe a donation for snacks. Each membership/team assesses dues differently, and each team individually spends varying amounts, of course. Some PTAs/PTOs, schools, or school districts pay membership and tournament fees. In addition, if the team should advance to State Finals, then there may be the cost of shared hotel rooms, depending on the location of the tournament. Again, some school districts absorb part or all of the cost for State Finals. Lastly, if the team should advance all the way to World Finals, there is airfare and meals & lodging, amounting to as much as $1,000 per child.  School districts may contribute to the costs, and teams may also get corporate sponsors.

How much time does Odyssey take?

This decision is up to the team and it’s coach, but most teams meet from October or November until the Regional Tournament in March (and beyond, if they advance to the state tournament). Generally, teams meet once or sometimes twice a week. Many teams meet from 1 ½ – 2 hours per meeting, depending on age and frequency of meetings. And most teams will have longer work session as the regional tournament approaches, to finish up props, costumes, and so forth. All meetings must be at the convenience of the coach(es), of course!

My child says, “adults can’t help” an Odyssey of the Mind team at all. Is there anything I can do?

Adults certainly can and do help teams, but some kinds of help are “OK,” and some kinds are not. A fundamental rule for Odyssey of the Mind is that all the content of their problem’s solution must come from the team, including all the ideas and all the work developing them into a tournament-ready presentaton. The team may have no “Outside Assistance” with the long-term problem. Some students might feel more comfortable if parents do not help in any way, but there are some things parents can do, including:

  • Teach skills the team may need, such as sewing, woodworking, art, drama, welding … any skills the team believes might be useful. The only constraint is that you may not teach them a particular method of doing something specifically for their problem solution. For example, you may not show them exactly how to paint the exact sort of tree they want to paint for a backdrop … but you MAY show them different ways to draw and paint trees. In other words, you may teach general skills and several methods for doing something, but not teach or demonstrate an exact way of doing what they want to do. They must learn to take the skills they are learning and apply them to their own ideas, as well as the team’s solution.
  • Encourage your child to be a problem solver and not to give up when the going gets hard.
  • Support the coach by offering to take the team to Home Depot or other retailers, or by providing snacks if the coach would like help with those.
  • Learn the process for Spontaneous and help the team practice (or practice at home with your family). There is no such thing as Outside Assistance when the team is practicing Spontaneous!
  • Help the team get everything to the tournament and help them carry props in IF the team asks you to (but if you break something, the team must be the ones to fix it!)
  • Learn to step back and let your child apply his/her own makeup, fix his/her own vehicle, make or repair his/her own costume, and generally be empowered to do all the work by him/herself.
  • Volunteer to help for an hour or two at the tournament (at registration or concessions).
  • Volunteer to train as an official for the tournament (but be aware you will not be able to see your own child compete, as you will be assigned to a different judging team).
  • Most importantly, be supportive of the team’s efforts and understand that failure, in Odyssey, is not only an option, but sometimes inevitable, and is an opportunity for growth and for learning.

Why can’t I watch the spontaneous competition?

Even coaches do not attend the spontaneous portion of the tournament. This is a time for the team to be “on their own” and to solve a problem on the spot. Part of what we want children to learn is how to “think on their feet” individually, and how to work together as a team in any situation. An audience would only be a distraction (they only have 5-10 minutes to solve a “Spont” problem). If you are interested in spontaneous, ask the team’s coach about watching a work on a problem at a meeting, or even offer to learn the process and be a “spontaneous coach.” You might work with other parents to offer a spontaneous workshop for all the membership’s teams by setting up problems for several teams to come practice. You could also volunteer to be a spontaneous judge at a tournament (but be aware you would almost certainly miss the team’s long term performance, depending on the schedule.)

I will not travel to the tournament with the team.  How do I find my child (grandchild, niece, nephew) when I arrive at the tournament? (I never knew there would be this many people and so many performance sites!)

Every tournament has a registration/information desk where there are maps of the performance sites and copies of the schedules. You need to know which school your child or relative attends, what grade he or she is in, and you MUST also know the name of the long-term problem the team is solving. One school may have several teams performing at different locations, so knowing the name of the problem – or at least the type of problem it is – is necessary in order for us to direct you.

I have another question that I’d like to see answered and posted here. Where do I submit my question?

E-mail your question to Bob Anderson at  Put “Parent FAQ” in your subject line, please.  You will either receive an answer via email, or your question and it’s answer will be added to this page.

FAQs: Coaches (with a thank you to the generosity of the Virginia State OotM website “Voices”)

How do I learn more about coaching a team?

Attend a coaches training. They are held in various locations around the region each fall.  We have been known ot have them in the spring too.  You can find out when they are by joining our Yahoo Group (link to sign up page).  If you can’t wait for one, contact Bob Anderson at and host one of your own!!  All that’s needed is a room, a screen of some kind, and a digital projector.

How can I find out more about what to expect at the specific site where my team will present it’s solution?

In general, all performance sites adhere to the same physical constraints.  They are outlined in the Program Guide.  Specific physical constraints are spelled out in each Long Term Problem.  Questions about steps, floor covering, and other details which might vary from tournament to tournament can be asked of our tournament director. One such question will be answered here, however:  a room’s ambient lighting will not be altered at any performance site.

My team started out full of enthusiasm, but now they are dragging their feet. What can I do to restore the initial fun and excitement?

Every team has periods of frustration: they often learn more from failure than success, but failure requires a time for regrouping and rethinking. If your team doesn’t seem to be happy with working on the problem, then talk to them honestly about it, and ask them a simple question: “What is making this difficult for you right now?” Listen to their answers, help them identify the problem(s) and let THEM brainstorm solutions to those problem(s). They may need your help in asking the right questions. (“Is there something you worry that you cannot do?” “Do we need to meet longer/shorter time periods?”, etc.) They may need support in abandoning a plan altogether and starting all over again on something. No one likes to admit that something has failed, but you, as the coach, can encourage them to evaluate the vehicle that didn’t run, or the structure that didn’t hold weight, or the backdrop that won’t stand up, the costume that just doesn’t look like a duck, etc.  Your guidance when the team is stuck is NOT outside assistance. It’s not you discussing the content of their solution, it’s you who is encouraging them to look at their content critically, with an eye towards renewing the interest that is frustrated, isolated behind whatever wall the team has built between itself and its Long Term Problem.  As a coach, you will likely see a miniature version of this situation sometimes during Spontaneous practice. Learn to recognize it: since there is no Long Term content in a Spont problem, it is not Outside Assistance to point out direct solutions to being “stumped” be a spontaneous problem.

My team is progressing towards its problem solution, but its members are not working well TOGETHER. What can I do to help them get along?

This is a problem for every team once in awhile, and sometimes just a little fun activity and relaxation (like a pizza party or a “game day”) will help them relax with one another again. Other times, however, there are more fundamental issues. Team building activities might help with these, reminding the kids that they can trust one another.  Spontaneous activities can also help build teamwork. But there are plenty of websites and books that offer activities designed to help you understand what you’re seeing. It may or may not be obvious at first, but occasionally the problem is a single team member who is creating difficulties for the entire team. If this is the case, you may need to step in and help the team work this out. It may be that YOU need an expert to do that: don’t hesitate to enlist the aid of your parents, the teachers at school, or the school counselor in more serious instances. Some Odyssey groups stress the importance of teamwork at the outset, asking the students and parents to sign behavioral contracts. These are useful because they clearly lay out expectations, and enable a coach to request a team member be removed if those expectations are not met, without the decision seeming arbitrary,. The primary objective should be to identify teamwork issues before they become too entrenched in the team’s behavior, and to focus on their resolution.  It should be noted here as well that teamwork issues will arise for every team as it’s members begin to stretch their creative wings.

We were all so proud of the team’s solution: it seemed almost perfect. Why wasn’t the long-term score higher?

First of all, remember that all problems in OotM are “open ended”.  That means there is no one right solution:  therefore, there is no “perfect” solution, either.  Long-term problems are designed to challenge teams to be as creative as possible: like beauty, however, creativity is in the eye of the beholder.  Further, the appreciation of creative ideas is shaped by their physical presence in a performance, informative and accurate paper work, and successful time management. These aspects of OotM develop as a team matures. Remember that you, as the team’s coach, will be much more familiar with the team’s solution that your parents, but  even they will be more familiar with it than the judges.  Judges must evaluate a SINGLE effort by a team to convey its problem’s solution, and to address the “perfection” of it according to scoring criteria that ranges from “did the team do it or not?” (5 points or 0), through the creativity and realization of an idea (1 to 20 points), to the quality of the team’s stage presence, which is by necessity a score that will compare teams.  These last two sets of scoring criteria are also subjective.  As long as each individual judge is consistent in scoring throughout the day, however, it’s fine if there is a “hard judge”, who gives a high score of 12/20, and an “easy judge” who scores the same criteria at 18/20. But all of these variables exert influence on a team’s score.  That’s one reason why coaches are given the opportunity to pick up the team’s score sheet while it’s solution is still relatively fresh in the judges’ minds.  If there is a concern about a specific score, it can be addressed at that time.  Judges do make mistakes sometimes.  Teams do too.  But part of the learning process for a team at the tournament is understanding it’s strengths and it’s weaknesses.  Scores should be viewed more as feedback of how the team met the problem’s requirement than as an evaluation of what they have achieved. Every team that successfully solves the long-term problem has won an enormous amount of self-confidence, problem-solving skills ,and  the ability to work with others.  Tournament scores cannot evaluate that growth, but the more that members of a team  “perfect” those skills, the higher the team’s Long Term score is likely to be.

What, exactly, is “Style”?

Style is the third scored component at a tournament. Style scores are scaled to 50 points, with each of four categories receiving up to 10 points, and “Overall Effect” also receiving up to 10 points. Each team must fill out three copies of the “Style Form” to give the Staging Area judge(s) at each competition. But…what IS style, exactly? Style is the unique elements that each team adds to its Long Term Problem solution. There are one or two “mandatory” elements listed in section F of each problem. The team will also select 2 or 3 other “free choice” elements, and consider the following question. “What have we made or done that is not specifically scored on the long term problem score sheet, but which enhances our presentation in a unique and imaginative way?” The answer may be a creative costume, a clever way of introducing themselves, an unusual use of materials … almost anything may be listed for a score in Style so long as it is not already included in elements scored in section E of the team’s problem.

Who reads the Style Form?

Only the officials who are judging style will read the Style Form. The Problem Judges will not see it.  The space at the bottom of the form (aka the “style paragraph”) is to be used to explain their Style elements and how they enhance the overall performance, not a summary of the performanc’s theme or script (unless that is a part of what they wish to have scored for Style, of course.)

I have another question that I’d like to see answered and posted here. Where do I submit my question?

E-mail your question to Bob Anerson at Note in your subject line that this is an “Coaches FAQ,” please. Your question will be answered by email, or it will be added to this FAQ page with our response.