Two teams – from Catoctin and Steuart Weller elementary schools – are representing Loudoun County at the 35th Odyssey of the Mind (OM) World Finals. The World Finals are being held May 28-31 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. More than 800 teams from around the world are taking part in this event. Five students from Catoctin Elementary – fourth- and fifth-graders Kaylynn Breland, Keith Inman-Ryan, Nina Segura, Will Keppel and Aidan Preshong – are taking part in the Not-So-Haunted House problem. The team’s problem is to create and present an original performance that includes a “pop-up-style” not-so-haunted “house” where four special effects take place. The special effects will be scored for originality and engineering.
Weller will be represented by the Jr. Thinking Caps. Team members include Sadie Bryant, Madeleine Brown, Jennifer Bond, Kayla Bond, Jacob Miniuk and Todd Balwinski. The Jr. Thinking Caps’ problem is Stackable Structure. Teams are tasked with designing a structure made up of separate components stacked on top of one another. The structure components will be made of only balsa wood and glue, and will be tested by balancing and supporting weights after they are stacked. The Weller team placed second in the Virginia OM tournament with a structure that held 282 pounds. (This was the ninth-highest weight total of the more than 1,500 teams that competed in this problem nationwide.)