Verbal spontaneous problems require verbal responses. They may incorporate improvisation or dramatization. Teams are scored for common and creative responses, and usually team members give responses in order and have a limited number of responses each.
In verbal and verbal hands-on, one of the easiest ways to receive creative responses is to use puns. While thinking of puns takes time and practice, a simple way to quickly think of numerous puns is to deconstruct the picture or object that you are responding about, think of related words and objects, then build back these related words into a response.
For example, if you are trying to think about puns relating to animals gathering at a pond…
You can also think of characteristics, generalizations or behaviors for the animals. For example, a raccoon might have the appearance of a thief because of their face-fur, so you might say “The raccoon is stealing off the page.” Herons have long legs and necks, so you might say “The heron was afraid of sticking his neck out in the conversation or stepping on anyone’s toes.” “Now Eye See it Two” and “Ponder Why” are two great problems to practice puns - a version of Ponder Why was a World Finals problem.
Practice puns as much as possible. Before spontaneous at competition, a great warm up exercise is simply “think of puns relating to ___” (space, food, school, etc). No materials needed, and it starts the kids into the groove of making creative responses.
While every spontaneous problem at a tournament is unique, problems generally fit into these broad categories:
In January 2015 this clarification was released detailing a new version of the verbal problem:
We have added a new procedure in SOME types of verbal problems. In these problems, team members will be given paper and pencils and are allowed to brainstorm during think time. They are allowed to write down the responses that they will use during response time. They may write as many as they wish and are not limited to those responses when it is their time to respond. During response time they will be able to refer to their own lists, so that they may choose the responses they think are the MOST creative or give a new response. Each team member will also have a set of cards with two values on them (for example one card may say 2/4; another 3/6)…. When they give a response they will decide if their response is creative and will hold up a card. The judges will then score that response using the lower number if they think the response is common, and the higher number if they think it is a creative response. A card may only be used once. As a result, teams can impact their score by predicting the creativity of their responses. The more creative responses should have higher numbers and questionable responses should have lower numbers.