Walnut Bend ES Advances to State Odyssey of the Mind Competition

Students from almost two dozen HISD schools will be competing at the state level of the Odyssey of the Mind contest on April 14—but for two groups of students from Walnut Bend Elementary School, the thrill of advancing past the regional level is particularly sweet, as 2012 marks only the first year that the Apollo 20 campus has ever participated. 

A team of fifth-graders won first place in its division for designing a vehicle with two propulsion systems that could move forward and backward and display four different emotions. 

A team of fourth-graders won first place in its division for building a balsa wood structure weighing less than the combined weight of three nickels (approximately 15 grams) that could support 345 pounds of steel. 

“This is a mathematical engineering problem that uses one of the lightest woods on the planet,” explained Walnut Bend Principal Susan Shenker, “so a structure’s strength comes from its design. The fourth-graders’ structure held more weight at the regional tournament than any other team’s present — including those from middle and high schools.” 

Both of the teams from Walnut Bend were coached by reading teacher Michele Dahlquist. 

Other schools that will advance to the state competition next month are: Burnet, Condit, Herod, Oak Forest, Parker, Poe, River Oaks, Roberts, Twain, and West University elementary schools; Grady, Lanier, Pershing, Pin Oak, and Revere middle schools; Bellaire and Carnegie Vanguard high schools; and T.H. Rogers, the Horn Academy, and Sharpstown International. 

For complete regional results, visit the Odyssey of the Mind website.