NASA helps students in problem-solving competition


Odyssey's Opening Ceremonies At the 2004 opening ceremonies, NASA provided a 16-foot globe by Worldfx, Inc. Dr. Fritz Hasler showed a 3-minute video clip of Earth visualizations that was part of a full-length video chosen for a prestigious SIGGRAPH Graphics Conference Award.
Credit: NASA

Students from all over the world will gather to participate in the Odyssey of the Mind's 26th World Finals, a creative problem-solving competition, at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colo., May 21 through 24. These students have advanced from competitions held earlier in the year at the local, regional, state or country levels and will now compete for the Odyssey's top awards.

NASA's Science Mission Directorate provided a grant to develop one of the long-term challenges for this year's competitions. In the challenge, "Get the Message," teams will present an original performance that includes a story told three times, each time using a different method of communication: a primitive method, an evolved method, and a futuristic method created by the team. The team will create signals that represent a stage in a process of the Earth system that they will display for each communication method. The presentation will also include a narrator or host and a stage set.

"Odyssey of the Mind is a natural partnership with NASA whose goal is to improve life here, extend life to there, and to find life beyond," according to Dr. Michael King, Earth Observing System Senior Project Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "Exploration of scientific principles and creative solutions through sound engineering is valuable training and exciting to students the world over. NASA's interest in developing a deeper understanding and awareness of Earth-Sun system processes and one's impact on his or her environment is enabled by teaching the world's students to think 'outside the box' and to solve complex problems in the environment."

Over the past year, NASA has supported Odyssey's preliminary competitions by posting Earth science information on a special web site. Web links were provided to assist students in developing solutions to problems facing the Earth.

NASA's Earth Observatory website serves as a host to many teacher and student learning modules. They include: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change; Investigating the Climate System with NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite (including rain, wind, clouds, energy and weather); Exploring the Environment (a coral reef lesson);, resources for teachers; and "Virtual Vacationland." Virtual Vacationland" is a resource tool for locating and using Earth Science data and information on the Internet. NASA expects to reach nearly two million students, parents, teachers, and coaches around the world through its sponsorship of Odyssey of the Mind problems, stimulating interest and learning about Earth system science among all ages.

The Odyssey of the Mind program, founded in 1978, is an international educational program that promotes team effort and creative problem-solving for students from kindergarten through college. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and about 35 other countries, including Argentina, Canada, China, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan, participate in the program.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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