Smyrna Middle School students place second in state finals of creative problem-solving competition, building a robot that mimics four human behaviors as part of a humorous performance. The team is raising funds on Facebook for the World Finals.

Smyrna Middle School’s Team Dynamite is heading to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. The international competition will be held at Michigan State University May 24-28.

The team qualified for the world competition after placing second in its problem and age division at the Delaware Odyssey of the Mind Finals March 25.

Team members include Emilee Lewis, Khushi Patel, Lillian Griffiths, Nathan Merrill, Alex Avila and Patrick Crutchfield, with head coach Pam Denney -Griffiths and assistant coach Danger Morriessey.

Now representing Team Delaware, the Smyrna Middle School students will be competing against teams from around the world. They will show their creative problem solving during spontaneous events as well as present their long-term solution to Problem #2. Teams solving this problem called “Odd-A-Bot” were charged with the task of constructing a robot independent of human powered movement.

The Smyrna Middle school teammates used their STEM skills to build a working robot which they named "OALAB,” short for “Observe A Lot A Bot.” The problem required that the robot observe four separate human movements or behaviors and then mimic them exactly.

The Smyrna Middle School team’s robot "OALAB" is able to kick a ball, clap his hands, paint a fence and dance by imitating the hard rock head bang move. He later knocks over a dog’s water bowl, crushes cups, karate chops a table in half and knocks pizza out of a character’s hands, producing comic relief.

The team’s creative solution delighted the judges and earned them a golden ticket to advance to the World Finals. The judges commented that the team had an excellent balance between engineering and acting.

The creative execution of their solution included brightly-decorated set design with a rotating backdrop, creative costuming, a hilarious skit with creative dialogue, 1980s songs, upbeat dances and an unexpected dose of comedy. An additional highlight of the performance was the elaborate rapping rhymes delivered by the main character.

The team is very excited about advancing to World Finals, according to Denney-Griffiths .

Team Dynamite is made up in part of siblings of a Smyrna High team, Team Mindless, which has advanced to the World Finals two times in the last four years. The older SHS team is thrilled for the Smyrna Middle School team, and they look forward to their siblings and their teammates experiencing the World Finals competition that is really, in their words, life changing, said Denney-Griffiths. The SHS team will be working with the SMS students to help raise funds for the World Finals competition.

Team fundraising on Facebook

A Facebook page has been created for Smyrna Middle School’s Team Dynamite so community residents can help with their journey of fundraising and follow their adventures while at the World Finals competition.

The Facebook page is titled "Team Dynamite-Odyssey of the Mind-Delaware."