Auburn Middle School’s four-person Odyssey of the Mind team took third place in Division III at the OM State Competition in Wells on Saturday, March 24.
The team, made up of eighth-graders Ezra Thomas, Harley Lombard, Matt Grenier and Cam Hutchins, under the direction of their coach, Angela Campbell, offered a successful solution to their chosen problem, “Ooh-Motional Vehicle.”
The team’s problem required them to design, build and drive a vehicle that would travel a course where it would encounter three different situations. The team’s vehicle was required to display a different human emotion for each situation, plus one that would cause it to travel in reverse. The judge’s emphases were on the technical risk-taking and creativity of the vehicle’s engineering for travel and change of emotional appearance.
“We started with a skateboard and ended up with a police car on plywood, which was artistic!” said Hutchins, who portrayed the alien driving the vehicle.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Grenier added.
Lombard commented that the long-term project was “fun, but nerve wracking” because he was worried that the battery would wear out.
“We had so many meetings that took a lot of time,” said Thomas, who was instrumental in the engineering of the vehicle. “We had to design the sides to make them look realistic. Engineering the wheel base was challenging; the wheels had to turn freely but hold onto the car with nuts, bolts and a half-inch rod. The back wheels came from a trash can and the front wheels came from a skateboard.”
Coach Campbell summarized how proud she was of their accomplishment: “The boys really worked hard and pulled everything together.”