How to Build a Limbo Bar Holder

This informative article provides instruction in how to build a balsa limbo bar (for those of you balsa fanatics out there!).  The article will be stored in the future in the resources section of this site.

Balsa Limbo How to build a Limbo Bar Holder

Other Judges’ Training Options

Each year, coaches scramble to find judges.  Sometime the only thing standing in the way of a person judging all day on March 14 at our regional meet is their ability to attend our Judges’ Training on Saturday morning, Feb. 29, 2020 at St. Louis Catholic School in Alexandria.  If you have a person willing to judge who can’t make it on the 29th, please send them these other options.  If they choose to go to a different training, they may register with Nova East, Region 11, as your judge, and they simply need to contact Don Desrosiers,, to let him know that they wish to attend training in a different region and which one.  Then Don will give their name to that region who will look for them.  They also need to be sure to know which problem and position they are assigned to in our region, so they will know which part of the training to attend during breakout sessions.  For instance, if our Problem Captain says you will be judging Problem 1 as a staging judging, it is important that they are trained for that position.  Below are the other trainings and locations.

Feb 15        Regions 14/16    Judges Training            Trailside Middle School, 20325 Claiborne Pkwy, Ashburn, VA 20147

Feb 23        Regions 14/16    Judges Training Snowdate        Trailside Middle School, 20325 Claiborne Pkwy, Ashburn, VA 20147

Feb 29        Region 11        Judges Training            St. Louis Catholic School, 2901 Popkins Lane, Alexandria

Feb 29        Region 12        Judges Training            Franklin Middle School, 3300 Lees Corner Rd, Chantilly

Feb 29        Region 14        Tournament                Independence High School, 23115 Learning Cir, Ashburn, VA 20148

Mar 7        Region 9        Judges Training            TBD

Order 2020 NOVA EAST T-Shirts For Your Team

Team T-Shirts this year are blue and the design will be similar to the picture below, featuring the message “Cooking up Creativity with Odyssey of the Mind”.

Please fill out the online order form here to place an order (or use the document in your coach training packet or the link in the previous post)

Orders are due by January 24, 2020.  We hope to have them available for pickup by the end of February.


Our Annual Regional Coaches’ Meeting with Problem Captains will be held from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at Campbell Elementary at 737 S. Carlin Springs Dr. in Arlington on Monday, January 13, 2020.  (Drive to the back parking lot and enter through Door 1 by the playground). It’s a great time to meet with the person in our region who knows most about the problem your team has chosen to solve.  We will begin in the library and then split into groups based on which problem your team is solving.  There will be lots of time for Q & A.

January 13 is also the date when your judge and team registrations should be completed online so as not to incur late fees or risk not being able to perform/compete. Remember it is important that the judge is committed to the training and judging all day at the meet.  If you encounter problems with registration you can contact Pam Wilkie at .

Volunteer registrations and team T-shirt orders will be extended through January 24.

NOVA EAST Spontaneous Workshop

NOVA EAST is hosting a spontaneous workshop for the first 30 teams that sign up.

Register here: or

The Spontaneous Workshop is scheduled for January 22, 2020 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at Glebe Elementary School, 1770 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207. For advanced teams, there is an extension to 8:30 PM.

This is a non-competitive event for teams to try problems in a skills-building environment.

The cost is only $10 per team but is limited to the first 30 teams that sign up. Team members plus coaches (limit 2) can participate.  (Partial teams and substitute coaches are welcome to participate if necessary.)

The workshop is recommended for 3rd grade and up. And the advanced spontaneous is for 6th grade and up. Younger students are welcome to attend if they feel up to the challenge.

Each team will perform three problems and discuss the outcome with other teams. Older kids will have a chance to perform 4 problems.

Please contact Geneva Moores, 703-626-5770,  or Laura Moore  if you have any questions.

Please help: We are not asking for team volunteers because we would like the coaches to be able to observe their teams, but if there are other non-coaches that are able to volunteer, we would really appreciate the help. Or maybe your judge would be willing to add an extra evening to their volunteer hours? Please have them contact Geneva Moores or 703-626-5770. The more volunteers we have, the better the experience for everyone.


Monday, January 13, 2020 is the due date for all Nova East Odyssey of the Mind team registrations and payments for our regional meet on March 14, 2020 at West Potomac H.S.  Prior to registering your team, you must register a judge that will represent your team by attending judges’ training on February 29 and spend all day on March 14 judging other teams for our region.  As an all-volunteer organization, the meet cannot run without committed volunteers to serve these roles.

 If you haven’t secured a judge for your team, first ask the parents of the team members if one of them would be willing to step up.  While it will mean they will be unable to see their child perform on March 14, it is a very important way they can contribute.  If no one is able to make that commitment, have them ask other family members (18 and up), neighbors, friends, or teachers.

Once you have a judge, they will need to register online using the link from our website on the registration page. The coach or coordinator may want to sit with the judge to help them register since they may want to know a little bit more about the type of problems they may want to pick to judge: however, coaches, please do NOT register your judge for them.  It is important they do it so they are able to give some preference as to what they will judge.  Make sure they click YES for representing the team and have the accurate information to fill out the information below.

Schools also need to find other volunteers to register to work for 2 hours at the regional meet helping with concessions, team check-in, and other important roles.  Many parents/teachers/friends are willing to fill this small role, and these people are also crucial to the success of the day.  They also will need to register online, and they will be contacted prior to the event to let them know the time slot and position.

Last Call for Balsa Workshop Participants!

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Friday 12/6/2019 at 6:00 p.m.

Come “take a break” with other Odyssey of the Mind Balsa Problem teams and learn about structural engineering through hands-on activities.

Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, from 1 to 3 PM

Glebe Elementary School

1770 N Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22207

Most supplies will be provided (although participants should bring a notebook, pencil, and a can of vegetables!)

Participants must be accompanied by a coach or parent.

COST: $7.50 per participant

SIGN-UP and PAYMENT in advance required:


Check out the resources for coordinators just added to the Resources Page!


This year at Coaches’ Training we sold Spontaneous Problem Solving kits which included a problem per week until the meet.  The cost is $25 per kit.  If you are interested in purchasing one, use the link below.  Or, you may want to ask your PTA to fund the purchase of one per team for your school!  It’s a great way for them to support all the hard work you are doing!


Also, we’re interested in finalizing our numbers for balsa basics workshop on December 8th at Glebe E.S. from 1-3 p.m.  Please sign up if your team may be interested in trying the balsa structure problem.  The workshop fee is $7.50 per person and the link to sign up is:

Consider Problem 4: The Balsa Structure Problem

Has your team read the Balsa Limbo problem and said, “Hey, that sounds fun, but I have no idea how to build with balsa wood!” ?

Well, guess what?  Nova East Odyssey of the Mind will be holding their first ever Balsa Basics Workshop to help kids and coaches learn a little bit about building with balsa.  If your team is curious about it for this year or even next year, please sign up and come have fun breaking things.

Balsa Basics