During the day today teams from all over the world unpacked and fixed props. Each team, country or state had their own shirt and hat to identify them. Connecticut’s purple shirt said State Champions on the back, and our hat, as well as pin and t-shirt graphic were dinosaurs (“Creative to the Bone”) due to both our state’s fossilized raptor footprints and our large collection of complete skeletons at the Peabody at Yale. While our team fixed their props, I escaped to the small but nice Knoxville Art Museum (click here) which had an exhibit or rain barrels in addition to their usual works.
In the afternoon, with two Connecticut dads, I manned a table of practice instant challenges, and saw up close that this is truly a creative problem solving event, reportedly the largest ever in history. We had a team do this challenge every five minutes all (hot!) afternoon and I was impressed that there were no duplicate ideas. These teams are from all over. A team I had assumed came from India was from Michigan, right near where I grew up. All these kids with their variety of backgrounds were not shy of each other in the slightest and spontaneous “pin trading” broke out anywhere at a moment’s notice. For me, the world just got even smaller; this generation was interacting without prejudice as peers, practicing working out innovative solutions to the problems my generation will hand off to them. And there are clearly infinite good ideas!
There are 12,000 kids here from 30 countries on 1157 teams. The opening ceremony this evening filled a whole college basketball arena, complete with processional, a light show, and confetti from the ceiling.