Spontaneous is the part where your team’s creativity gets to shine.  You, as the coach, get to help the team learn new skills so they can really show that creativity they are waiting to let burst out in the minutes they have in spontaneous.  Below you will find information that will help you coach your team in spontaneous.

For spontaneous, be sure to practice, practice, and practice. Here are some tips from Odyssey of the Mind for practicing spontaneous:

  • Teach team members to listen. They should not “think ahead” and presume what the problem requires; they should listen carefully until the judge finishes reading the entire problem.

  • Brainstorm verbal responses. Ask the students what made them respond the way they did, then develop that skill further.

  • Improvise non-traditional uses for various items.

  • Familiarize team members with various materials and their uses.

  • Practice building structures out of common materials such as toothpicks, paper cups

(Taken from Problems from Creative Interaction, by Dr. C. Samuel Micklus & Samuel W. Micklus.)

Here you will find several resources that may help prepare a team for spontaneous:

Odyssey of the Mind – National website - This is the national website for the Odyssey of the Mind program.

Spontaneous Problems Archived from Virginia - Archived Spontaneous Problems from the VA Odyssey of the Mind website.

Spontaneous Problems Galore - Northeast Pennsylvania’s Spontaneous Problems

Georgia Spontaneous Site - Spontaneous problems from Georgia

Arizona Archive Spontaneous Site - Archived spontaneous problems from the Arizona Odyssey of the Mind.

Tennessee’s Spontaneous Site - Spontaneous problems from Tennessee

Thank you State Spontaneous Captain Cathy Parker for these wonderful videos full of spontaneous magic.  Teams and Coaches how can you take these tips and make them your own?