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Please Note: These are not official Odyssey of the Mind Spontaneous problems but are supplied here as training tools for improving teams' spontaneous skills. Official practice problems can be found if you purchase the books of spontaneous problems and sample problems can also be found on the Odyssey of Mind website.

Current Hands-on challenge:


Bridge the Gap

Your challenge is to build as many bridges across the gap as possible


You have 6 minutes to discuss the problem, practice, and create your solution. The judge will warn you when 2 minutes, when 1 minute, and when 30 seconds remain. You are allowed to ask the judges questions, but time will continue.


The tables are divided off into different scoring areas (Point to areas). Your score will be based on the sections that you choose to start and end your bridges. (Point to tables)

You will use these materials to build the bridges (Point to materials).


Nothing else can be used, and you are not allowed to damage items marked with a yellow label. (Point to items with a yellow label).

A bridge is eligible for score as long as it only touches the surface of the two tables.

Bridges are not allowed to touch each other.


You will be scored when time ends or when you ask to be scored.

Set Up

Place the following materials on a table:

*3 unsharpened pencils

*1 ruler, approx. 12”

8 paperclips

8 rubber bands

4 pieces of string, 6”

2 ounces of clay

8 plastic straws

2 sheets of paper, 8.5” x 11”

2 8-oz. Styrofoam cups

8” piece of painter’s tape

40 toothpicks

* Mark with a yellow label.

Set up two tables in a “V” formation as shown in Site Setup.

Mark each scoring area with tape and label the score for each section.

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Site Setup

For Judges Only:

A bridge is eligible for score as long as it only touches the surface of the tables. To score, add together the scoring area values that each part of each bridge is touching.

If a bridge touches more than one scoring area on a table, award the team the higher of the values.

Be sure to give each team exactly 6 minutes to create their solution. Warn the team when 2 minutes, when 1 minute, and when 30 seconds remain.


Each legal bridge will receive the score of the highest scoring area it touches on each table.

You will receive 1 to 15 points for the creativity of your solution.

You will also receive 1 to 10 points for how well you work together.


Were team member tasks and responsibilities sorted out clearly?

When scoring how well the team works together, consider the extent that all team members are involved, if they value one another’s input, etc.

When scoring creativity of the team’s solution, consider strategy, experimentation, and how they use the materials.

Was time used effectively?

What would the team do differently if they did it again?

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