June 7, 2006 - Three Northwest area schools traveled to Iowa in late May to compete in the World Finals of Odyssey of the Mind, a problem-solving competition.

Painted Sky Elementary School in the Amphitheater School District sent two qualifying teams to the World Finals on May 24. Sunrise Drive in the Catalina Foothills School District and Cross Middle School in the Amphitheater School District sent one team a piece.

Qualification for the World Finals in Aimes, Iowa, was decided at the state level where a school had to finish in first or second place in its event.

Sunrise Drive and Painted Sky each had a team compete in Division 1 of The Jungle Bloke, an event where students wrote and performed a short play based of their research of rain forests. Sunrise Drive and Painted Sky finished in 15th and 21st place, respectively.

Painted Sky finished in 28th place in Division 1 of the Great Parade, an event where the students were required to create a hand-propelled vehicle that could fit into a 4-by-6 foot box, travel around three parade markers, and then return to the box in reverse. To accomplish this task, the students welded two bicycles together that would be steered by one student and pedaled by another.

Cross Middle School finished 16th in Division 1 of Ancient Egypt, an event where students are required to create a short play featuring topics such as Egyptian pharaohs, pyramid-construction, archeology, hieroglyphics, and mummification. The plays also are required to have a plot twist at the end.

In Odyssey of the Mind competitions, teams are told the basic parameters of a problem, but there is always a mystery component not revealed until the competition that the teams must then solve without preparation.

Although most teams competing in the World Finals came from American schools, teams from Poland, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Cameroon, Japan, the Netherlands, Uzbekistan and Cuba also competed.

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