Chinese participants in the Odyssey of the Mind, a creativity competition, returned to Shanghai from the United States on Wednesday with two runner-up prizes.
This year's Odyssey of the Mind, an international creative problem-solving program that engages students in long-term and impromptu problems, saw 749 teams from 11 countries and regions in the final at the Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. These included six from the Chinese mainland, four of them from Shanghai.
A team from the East Branch of Shanghai New Putuo Primary School took second place in the primary school sector in solving the problem "Where is the Structure," in which students are required to design and build a structure from only balsa wood and glue that holds as much weight as possible.
The students chose bamboo as their material as they believed it's solid enough. They experimented with various structures and eventually built an 18-gram cylindrical structure that can hold 1,090 pounds of weight, the heaviest among all teams. But they didn't do well in the impromptu problem-solving section and had to settle for the runner-up spot in the competition.
Shanghai Jianping Experimental Middle School won the second prize in the middle school division in solving the "Pirates and Treasure" problem, in which students had to build a "ship" to set sail, reclaim "stolen treasures" and return to the "Queen." The presentation had to include a pirate captain, flag and song, and their fight against a sea monster that guards the treasure.
The team not only focused on the "ship," such as the actuator, but also the design of the whole presentation setting, such as the Hellenic dome and the Disney-style underwater palace, to create the unique pirate performance.
The structure of the "ship" was so complicated and fragile with too many ornaments that it broke down 20 minutes before the competition kicked off and they had not brought replacement parts due to the cost factor. Fortunately, they managed to restore it and successfully drove it into the arena.