POCONO SUMMIT, Pa. -

It was a day of creative and competitive learning in the Poconos.

Hundreds of Kindergarten through 12th grade students from around the region showed off their skills at the 2012 Northeast Pennsylvania Odyssey of the Mind Tournament.

It may look like fun and games, but beyond the punch lines and props The Odyssey of the Mind Tournament teaches a real life lessons.

"The whole idea of this event is to think outside of the box," said Phyllis Cournan Pocono Mountain West Assistant Principal.

Every year, participating students choose a category with a particular problem to solve, like building a balsa wood structure and seeing how much weight it can support.

"We used four pieces of balsa wood in each corner  and then we used one ninth of an inch to do different design patterns and four cross bars on the side," said Pocono Mountain West Junior High School student Robert Pyzik.

"They also had to develop a show that was a long a mathematical theme," said Coach James Feuerstein.

While solving their technical problem, the students have to come up with a skit to support it.

"Everything from write an original script, break down 8 or 9 problems and decide what is needed to the artistic part of building the sets," said Coach Bryan Siegfried.

700 students participated in 115 teams. 30 of those teams will advance to the state competition in April.

Students who make it through state competition go on to compete at the world level.

Senior Abigail Bongard has been there before.

"Hopefully when I go to college in the fall I can start on division four because it really is a great program," said Bongard.

A program that organizers said is a creative and competitive way to keep learning fun.