The Ballston Spa Odyssey of the Mind team with their creation the Thinkinator. Lydia Freehafer, Maggie Zink, Hope Danison, Caitlin Shanley, Alyson Demskie, Allyson Block and Katie Barno. Photo Submitted.
continued Usually, teams tackle one problem a year, but not this team. They took on two. They won the regional competition for their entry in “You Make the Call,” in which the team built an 8-inch weight bearing structure made only of balsa wood and glue. They chose to build a 9-gram structure from among three weight categories, 9, 12 or 15 grams. After many designs, they succeeded in building a structure that supported an impressive 793 lbs. The team was also awarded a bonus for using the lower weight category.
The second problem, titled “To Be or Not To Be,” was an arts based problem requiring a prop and an 8-minute sketch. The team constructed a giant head, affectionately known as The Thinkinator, that was used in both problems.
In addition to building the structure, the problem required the teams to write and perform an 8-minute math based skit, including an original device that would demonstrate a mathematical function on two objects. The team made the 6-foot-tall head, with moving eyes, lips and tongue that demonstrated how two-dimensional objects turn into three dimensions. Thinkinator is able to unfold itself from a flat appearance to a fully three-dimensional object.
Zink is one of the sewers on the team and said that most of the sewing of the fabric for the head was done by machine. The team couldn’t spend more than $125, but luckily they had many materials on hand and got others at a discount from garage sales.
The team used the head for both problems because it was “such an awesome and amazing prop” according to Zink.
Laurie Freehafer has been a coach for Odyssey of the Mind for 13 years and saw the ambition with which the team took on their chosen quandaries.
“The best part is how the girls act when they don’t necessarily win. They’re so gracious and supportive of the other teams that do win. Although they all have opinions on how they wish things would go when they’re working on their problem they’re all very accommodating and willing to compromise and they get along really well,” she said.