Ellie is in 3rd grade and her school hasn’t had an Odyssey of the Mind team previously. The second year principal suggested that a team get submitted for this competition. Paula volunteered to coach along with 2 other moms and i volunteered to be a judge. none of us knew much about O.M. but we got online and studied up and started practices twice a week many months ago. the kids chose a problem to compete in and they even wrote their own script and made their props and scenery. the team consists of 2 fifth grade girls and 4 third graders. we figured this year would be good practice to learn about the competition and that the nucleus of 4 third graders could become very competitive in a year or 2. well, we woke up early and headed to the competition. the kids competed in their event and also competed in the Spontaneous event. when the awards show arrived at 6:00 PM tonight we found out that Ellie’s team had tied for first place — they’d won the tournament in their first try and now qualify for the State competition next month. wow!

so the problem they had to address was defined as the following:

Problem 3: The Lost Labor of Heracles
Divisions I, II, III & IV
Teams will create and present an original performance about the ancient Greek hero Heracles. In Greek Mythology, King Eurytheus ordered Heracles to perform 12 labors. The team will reenact Heracles performing one of the 12 labors, as well as a Lost Labor–a team-created thirteenth labor forgotten in history. The performance will also include a god or goddess from Greek Mythology, an original mythological creature that plays a role in the Lost Labor, and the team’s version of why the Lost Labor was forgotten in history.
Cost limit: $125 USD.

there were many more rules and requirements, but that gives you the gist of it. that being said, here is the video from the competition today (after you hit play, you can hit the HQ button to see higher quality — sorry the volume is so quite):

and actually, in this part of the O.M. competition Ellie’s team took 2nd place; however, in the Spontaneous event, Ellie’s team blew away the other schools. that bodes well for State if Ellie’s team can work to improve the production in the video. and if you want to get really technical, Ellie’s team beat the other team by 6/10 of a point. ;~) here is the actual score sheet showing the top 7 as that’s what i could fit in the screen shot: