Instant Challenge Tips

Instant Challenges are FUN!!

The Instant Challenge competition is a chance for your team to show off its creative problem solving skills as they demonstrate their teamwork and ability to “think on their feet.”

Don’t leave them to be done if there is time. Make time for them in your meeting schedule or have Instant Challenge Meetings. They can help warm up teams before working on their solutions for the main challenge, provide a way to break up a team meeting, or be a means to try out hypotheses teams have brainstormed as possible solutions to the main challenges. Instant Challenge Competition can often make or break a team at a tournament. It can separate a team that has learned to work well together from a team that never practiced team building skills.

Basic Tips

  • Practice Instant Challenge at least once a week from the beginning.
  • Do at least three (3) challenges each time.
  • Spend 15-20 minutes to 1/2 hour
  • Increase time as competition date nears
  • Do as many types of each challenge as possible
  • Teach the team how to generate a variety of creative responses.
  • Use unusual materials
Without Props To Communicate
With Props To Move
Team Created Props To Change
Imaginary Props To Protect

Performance-Based Instant Challenges require teams to create a performance from real or imaginary props. The team must either create these props from given materials or use ones already provided. The type of presentation for these Instant Challenges will vary. They may include one or more of the following: singing, miming, rhyming, dancing, etc. Team members may enhance their characterizations through the use of Improv, Mime, Body Language, Stage Presence, and/or Voice Alteration. When brainstorming a solution to a performance-based instant challenge, teams should make sure they consider areas of Story Line Development such as: Situation, Conflict, Resolution, and Beginning-Middle-End. They may also want to think about using other theatrical elements including: Staging, Music, and Special Effects.

To see a template for writing an instant challenge, click here.

Task-Based Instant Challenges are more hands-on type challenges. Team members must work together to communicate, move, change or protect something with the materials they are given by the Appraisers. Sometimes they will be given items which they must manipulate and then give related verbal responses about what they have done with them for score.

In a Task-Based Instant Challenge the team will be given a variety of materials to use to solve the challenge. These materials will fall into three main categories: Extenders/Structural Items; Connectors/Adhesives; and Controllers/Holders/Transporters. When beginning task-based Instant Challenges it is recommended that you first discuss the three basic types of materials with your team. Then gather a wide variety of items from the lists below and have your team determine what the function(s) of each item might be. Remember keep asking the team in what ways could they use each item. Have them make a chart of the functions of the various items. For a list of different materials which fall into each category click here

Mini Challenges can be used to teach a specific concept or as a warm-up.

Click Here for tips on training teams in Task-Based Instant Challenges.

By using the Instant Challenge Template and Ideas for Task-Based Instant Challenges Table along with some imagination and other instant challenges you will be able to create a wide variety of instant challenges for your team.

Tips and Tricks for Solving Instant Challenges is a compilation of many suggested ideas for training teams on how to solve Instant Challenges.

Try these Practice Instant Challenges

For Additional Instant Challenges  and information try one of the following links:

Iowa Instant Challenge Library  This is a terrific resource.

Instant Challenge Training  Video  This video was produced in 2004 and includes some great information, but please note that some areas have been updated to align with current rules and procedures.  This video will give teams an idea of the basic procedures that they will encounter in Instant Challenge.

New Hampshire Instant Challenge Archive

Colorado Instant Challenge Archive

Conversation Pieces

Practice Instant Challenges from Texas