Students won the Odyssey of the Minds in Poland. The finals are waiting for them in the USA! | Gdańsk University of Technology

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Date added: 2024-04-12

Students won the Odyssey of the Minds in Poland. The finals are waiting for them in the USA!

After the presentation of the project at the national final. Photo: private archives.
In the 33rd National Final of Odyssey of the Minds, a team of students from Gdańsk University of Technology won in the category entitled "Structure from Space" and will thus represent Poland at international competitions in the United States in the 4th age group - up to 26 years of age.  

Patryk Karpiński, Zuzanna Kośnik, Izabela Kościanek, Zofia Kullak, Łucja Ługowska and Aleksander Kulewski, students of the Faculty of Architecture, and their coach Agnieszka Armatyńska from the Education Office are the winners of the national stage of Odyssey of the Minds. 288 teams from all over Poland in various age categories and 4 guest teams from abroad took part in this stage.

The originator and inspirer of taking part in the competition was Patryk Karpiński, a second-year student who has been associated with Odyssey of the Minds since junior high school, has competed many times in various age categories, and was also the judge assessing the participants' projects. He decided to create a polytechnic team and take part yet again.

The idea of taking part was welcomed by the university authorities, supporting the team financially, because participation in the competition at every stage involves certain costs. Preparations have been going on since November 2023 and it involved many hours of work - creative, but also structural.

Balsa carries weights

The students chose to prepare a project from Problem 4 area "Structure from Space", where to complete the task they had to use extremely light and at the same time durable balsa wood, precisely sized. The competition structure, the tower, weighed only 14.2 g and could support 125 kg.

However, preparing the model is only one aspect assessed in the competition. An 8-minute presentation of the project on stage, which requires huge commitment of all group members, is equally crucial. You need to prepare a script, direct a performance that should be a coherent story, and choose costumes and decorations.

– Our performance had humorous accents and many references to contemporary pop culture, which was appreciated by the judges – emphasizes Patryk Karpiński. – In the descriptive reviews that we could read after the performance, our acting, wit, dialogues, and at the same time simplicity of the message were distinguished.

Another scored element of the competition is a spontaneous task - verbal, manual or verbal-manual. The competitors do not know in advance what kind of task they will be assigned. What counts is openness of mind, spontaneity and brilliance. It's hard to prepare for it because the tasks are always a surprise. The group's trainer plays an important role here, working to awaken its creativity. Agnieszka Armatyńska from the Education Office highly values creativity and implements it in many areas (she is, among others, the initiator of the eco-tree idea, which won the December St. Nichola’s competition at Gdańsk Tech). She took the Odyssey of the Mind trainer course as part of her own career development and gained new professional experience.

– The Odyssey is not just a problem that needs to be solved. It is a whole series of lessons in creativity, cooperation, entrepreneurship, work organization and time management - emphasizes Agnieszka Armatyńska - I am very proud of our students, because they are able to cope with every task, whether organizational or requiring ingenuity and an innovative approach. My role as a trainer was primarily to unlock their creativity, to teach them to trust their potential and allow themselves to come up with various ideas. In our education, there is little space for spontaneous activities that trigger creativity in students, which is why our actions are often formulaic. The Odyssey requires its participants to think outside the box, off the beaten path. I think we managed to achieve this together. By the way, on behalf of the entire team, I would like to thank Joanna Kowalewska from the Faculty of Architecture and Wiktor Sieklicki from the FMEST for their trust in our abilities, which fueled our undying enthusiasm for action.

Collection for a trip to the USA

The trip to the United States will take place at the end of May. Students will have an extremely busy 6 weeks ahead of them. First, they must raise funds for the trip in the amount of PLN 9,000. per person. For this purpose, they organize a collection. Secondly, they must prepare their entire presentation in English and assess whether they should transport the decorations created in Poland to America or whether they will find time to make them on site.

– It's a very busy period and there are many tasks, but we treat this trip as a great adventure and a chance to experience something amazing, so it's worth devoting all your free time to it – says Patryk Karpiński.