Saturday, June 9, 2012

Odyssey of the Mind lesson with my 5th graders....

Our 5th grade class is great group of kids. One of them was having a birthday and another student asked if we could do a little something extra for her. Birthday girl is a big fan of the Hunger Games so I decided to do an Odyssey of the Mind practice lesson I had read months ago (another teacher at our school told me about Odyssey of the Mind several months ago and I've been hooked since then).

My exact numbers are surely off but it was something to the effect of- each team consists of 5-7 kids, they all get 20 pieces of spaghetti, 10 mini marshmallows, 5 straws and 5 address labels. They have 7 minutes to build a structure together that is at least 8 inches high and can hold the Styrofoam bowl I gave them. Then we add weights into the bowl one at a time and they get more points for the more weights it can hold. They also get points for extra height of the structure and TEAMWORK.

How on earth does this have anything to do with art?? ;) That's easy.....aesthetics. I continued to talk about the  challenge of building something as well as making it "look good". It's a problem that some artists, sculptors and architects deal with. As the kids were trying desperately just to make their structure stand up- can they envision how artists like sculptors and architects solve the problem of making their pieces aesthetically pleasing too?? Good conversation!

Also, practicing teamwork is essential in any class as well as art. I find creative people have a hard time with this sometimes (I sure do!) so I strive in my classroom to get my kids working in teams often. Practice makes perfect ;).

As an education obsessed parent and art educator I ADORE the type of divergent thinking that Odyssey of the Mind projects create. Maybe you are familiar with their site already but if not, check it out!!!

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