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Spontaneous FAQs

FAQs for Spontaneous

Are the problems different at each level—Regional, State, and Worlds?

The same long-term problems provided by CCI are used at all levels of competition. Spontaneous problems are different at each tournament; a team will never experience the same one at a competition.

If a team advances to the next level, they can use the same long-term solution or an entirely new solution. Keeping in mind that, at the next level, the team will be competing with teams that placed at their tournaments, they are encouraged to review their scores and decide if there are any elements that they might adjust to present the most effective solution.

Can coaches or parents watch their own team’s spontaneous performance?

No. This is a rule from the international Odyssey of the Mind organization. It applies at every approved tournament. This is not a rule that Regional Directors or State Association Directors can change.

When coaching spontaneous, can coaches give examples of answers that the team could use (before or after the team practices that problem)?

Yes, that is fine. Because the problem at the tournament will be different, any discussion of possible answers to your practice problem, and review of whether answers were creative or common, is not Outside Assistance. It is up to the coach to decide what kind of guidance would be most helpful to the team.

In Spontaneous, can the team ask the judges questions to clarify the problem?

That will depend on the problem. In Primary, the team may always ask questions. In divisions 1, 2, and 3, nearly all problems permit asking questions during the “thinking” time, and many also permit the team to ask questions during solution time. Some problems require the team to solve the problem without talking, either to each other or to the judges. Teams should practice all of the variations that they and their coaches can think of.

How can team members help another team member who gets “stuck” (unable to think of an answer) in a Spontaneous problem?

In most Spontaneous problems, team members can’t help each other come up with an answer. Some problems will include a “pass” possibility, which the stuck team member can use to skip their turn. Teams should be sure to practice getting “un-stuck” as an individual skill. Practice is the best way to avoid getting stuck, since practice helps develop quick-thinking skills.

Can the team give a duplicate answer during the Spontaneous problem?

Responses from the team members may be judged as either “creative” or “common.” An objective of the Spontaneous competition is for team members to try to respond with creative rather than common responses, and so the creative responses receive higher scores. We also recognize that a team member can become stuck, and the only response they may be able to come up with is one that has already been given. So yes, a team member can give a repeat answer, and it will be judged as common, no matter whether it was originally judged as creative or common. You might want to review the Odyssey of the Mind Program Guide for further information; a link to it is available on the Resources page.

How are the Spontaneous rules “relaxed” for Primary teams?

All team members may go into the room and compete. Also, the coach or an adult may go into the room and sit silently while the team competes. Because of the unique scenarios associated with some of these situations, we request that you contact our Spontaneous Problem Captain for further guidance.

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