Hands-on spontaneous problems require teams to physically create a tangible solution. Each hands-on problem has its own specific scoring categories.

Hands-on problem tips

  • Listen carefully to all directions, and ensure at least one team member reads the problem multiple times. Many hands-on problems have a catch or trick which can mean the difference between scoring 150 and 500. Reading the problem closely and asking judges clarifying questions is the best way to solve the problem.

  • Analyze all aspects of the problem during planning time. Consider materials, time, and potential difficulties.

  • Do not ever begin solving the problem without planning! The spontaneous captain should facilitate a discussion of the team's plan

  • Divide and conquer - split up the workload of a problem, and have the spontaneous captain keep tabs to make sure all the separate parts can come together.

  • While disagreement is natural, never openly argue. Arguing shows judges lack of teamwork, and hands-on problems often score teamwork.

Hands-on problem types

Hands-on problems have the most variety out of any type. Teams should best prepare by understanding how to split up work, keep track of time, and make decisions quickly. Unique problem examples: “Chain letter”, “Get Your Cups in a Row”, “Perpetual Motion

Example spontaneous videos

Below are videos of spontaneous problem sessions, along with problem introductions and debriefs.

Heads and Tails (hands-on)

Buckets (hands-on)

Perpetual Motion (hands-on)

Up, Up, and Away (hands-on)