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Tips for Teams - Verbal problems

  • Listen carefully so you don't have to ask questions and waste valuable time.

  • Speak loudly and clearly. If a judge asks you to repeat an answer it may take away from the score by using too much time.

  • Don't wait until your turn to begin thinking. Have three or four answers in your mind.

  • Use your team members answers to spark new creative ideas for you.

  • If you get pencil and paper use it in thinking time and when other team members are giving answers.

  • Don't speak out of turn. Follow the rules for responding. The judge will stop the team member and it wastes time.

  • Don't be slow.

  • Don't elaborate answers unnecessarily. This can use too much time.

  • Don't panic. Try to keep responses flowing and pass the turn on to the next team member. Even if you can only think of a common response, give it. Your other team members may have a more creative response to give.

  • Who are the Judges? What will they see as funny or creative? Are they more like your friends or your parents/teachers?

  • Notice how long a minute of thinking time really is.

  • Try to practice using the new procedure of team tokens for responding. Work out a system to allocate the tokens to each team member, depending on their pre-existing skills or current creativity.

Tips for Teams - Hands on problems

TIME KEEPING: Who keeps track of the TIME? Judges keep time and will always tell the team how much time is remaining if asked.

DECISION MAKING: If the team members disagree on a solution in spontaneous, what does the team do?  Maybe choose a spontaneous team captain for each type of problem or one person for all problems. The team captain makes sure all team members are heard, delegates responsibility, and makes decisions if the team is stuck. The captain should realize that this position does not entitle him or her to always choose their own idea, but that they must always listen to all the ideas that are heard and act on what is best for the team


PROBLEM READING: The team copy is for the team’s use. Read along with the judges and refer to it often. Pick it up and look at it! That’s OK! Who on the team keeps track of the requirements, who notices the details? It is easy to miss a simple rule that can ruin a great solution.


SCORE KEEPING: Pay attention to what you score points for. Where will the team get the most points in a problem? Practice looking at different kinds of problems. Make sure the team doesn’t focus on something worth a few points when they could have easily gotten many more, if they had paid attention to the scoring. Who is good at math, adds numbers fast and accurately?


BUILDING: Who will do the building if it is a Hands-On problem? Everyone?  One or two? Who is good at building and has good fine motor skills? Think about what works and what doesn’t. Can the team switch if say artistic (drawing or mask making) or athletic (throwing, reaching, jumping) skills are required instead of building skills?

TEAMWORK: Many Hands-On problems include teamwork points. What are the judges looking for in good teamwork? What can your team do to showcase how well the team works together? Well- prepared teams know the strengths of their teammates and know how to work out new issues quickly. This takes time to develop. 


LISTENING: How does the team make sure all of the ideas are heard in the spontaneous? If a quiet member of the team has the best solution will the team miss it?

MATERIALS: Look and consider all of the materials before you start. You don’t have to use everything but . . . think about everything you are given by the judges (Why did they give us paper, a t-shirt or cardboard or other unusual material?) Think about ways to alter the characteristics of provided materials or to combine materials to make longer, stronger, more rigid etc..


Remember, in Odyssey usually if it doesn’t say you can’t, you usually can, but ask the judge to be sure. Questions do count against your time, though.

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