top of page

Odyssey Academy

So, here's the common refrain we often hear from parents and teachers looking to start Odyssey of the Mind:

"I know OM sounds like an amazing program, and I want my child to participate, but I don't know how to get started or what to do once we start?!"


Well, have we got a solution for you! Odyssey Academy.


Illinois Odyssey of the Mind and Dr Jim Mourey created Odyssey Academy, a free, 15-lesson online experience that walks you and your children/students through the Odyssey of the Mind program from A to Z!

Students can watch the videos on their own and complete the program and/or you can watch the videos and coach them along the way, as well! With over six hours of videos and lots of new skills, tools, and examples, everyone can learn how to participate in Odyssey of the Mind and solve his/her selected OM problem!

Lesson 1: What is OM?

An introduction for students, parents, teachers, and coaches to the OM experience:


  • What is OM?

  • What is divergent thinking?


  • Who else does OM?

  • The three parts of OM

  • What this class will do

Lesson 2: What You Will do in OM

Find out about your role in OM and what’s expected from your team:


  • Working with a Team

  • With whom you cannot work

  • What is Outside Assistance

  • How Odyssey Academy works

Lesson 3: The Long-Term Problems

The heart of the Odyssey of the Mind Program:


  • What is a Long-Term Problem

  • The Six Long-Term Problem Categories

  • The LT Problem Structure

  • Age Divisions

  • Choosing your LT Problem

Lesson 4: Creativity and Brainstorming

Tools on HOW to come up with creative ideas:


What is creativity?

Associative network

What is brainstorming?

Brainstorming tools

Limitations, boundaries & creativity

Lesson 5: Solving Your Long-Term Problem

A walk-through on HOW to solve a Long-Term problem:


  • What is your Long-Term problem about?

  • What are the required elements?

  • How will those elements be scored?

  • Thinking about a calendar/schedule

  • Big picture/details/big picture

Lesson 6: Focus and Style

How to focus on your Long-Term solution and the scored STYLE element:


  • Scoring and point allocation

  • Teaching Moment: Rubrics & Evaluations

  • What is Style?

  • Avoiding Style & Long-Term Overlap

  • Points, points, points!

Lesson 7: How to Write a Skit

A skit-writing lesson from a professional and why it is needed in OM:


What is a skit?

Five-point scene structure

Proper formatting for scenes

Skit through the lens of point allocation

Lesson 8: Building Your Solution

Making your creative ideas reality:


What are props?

What are costumes?

What is a backdrop/scenery?

What MUST you have? Improv approach

Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT)

Problems 1, 2, & 4

Lesson 9: Tweaking for Improvement

You’re well on your way! Now’s a good time to take a step back and see if there’s room for improvement:


Does your solution actually solve the problem?

Room for Improvement: Revisit creativity

Keep it simple, silly

The curse of knowledge

Completely foreign v. Familiar with a twist

Lesson 10: Spontaneous

The third (but important!) component of OM:


  • What is Spontaneous

  • The three types of Spontaneous Problems

  • How to practice Spontaneous

  • The importance of keeping the “Sponto Secret”

  • Creativity, teamwork, & quick thinking

  • Use the skills you’ve acquired

Lesson 11: Practice, Practice, Practice!

Making the most of your 8 minutes!:

  • What is stage presence

  • Choreographing every movement

  • Pacing vs. Speed Running

  • Your millionth time, the audience's first

  • Getting feedback from reactions

Lesson 12: The Paperwork

What is required and why you need it. Sound boring? Psst…it’s a way to get maximum score!


  • What is paperwork

  • Style form

  • Cost form

  • Outside Assistance form

  • Team List

  • Paperwork-not an afterthought

Lesson 13: How to Compete

It’s competition time, oh boy! Get rid of nervousness and get even better at OM:


  • Competition

  • Registering with your Association

  • Checking in and competition schedule

  • The LT flow

  • The Spontaneous flow

  • Virtual competition (if applicable)

Lesson 14: Understanding Judge Scores

Making sense of what the judges are telling you:


  • Why is creativity scored?

  • Understanding the LT scoresheet

  • Understanding Style scores

  • Understanding Spontaneous scores

  • Raw scores v. Calculated scores

  • Special Awards

Lesson 15: Reflecting On What You Have Done

Congratulations! You have completed Odyssey Academy. Reflect back on what you have learned and get creating!


  • What World Finals is like

  • Reflecting on your “Odyssey”

  • One last question…

bottom of page