USAT uses three different kinds of events during each Meet. There is a description of Mind Sprints, Face-Off! and P.A.R.T.Y in a Box below, as well as samples from bygone competitions under each description.
Divergent thinking skills, visual problem solving, logic, construction and team cooperation puzzles challenge and yield quick, creative solutions to three 10-minute problems this round. Mind Sprints may be individual or team challenges, with verbal or non-verbal components; but teammates are urged to encourage and help one another, and no one ever gets “stuck” on the hot seat.
P.A.R.T.Y. in a Box
The name stands for Preparation, Assembly and Reenactment Theater is Yours-in a Box! Teams receive a problem and equipment with which to solve it. Supervised, but never “coached”, they have a limited time to come up with their best presentation. Teams perform for the judges and one another, receiving points for factors such as “best theme” and “creative use of materials provided.” Students practice good sportsmanship and theater etiquette as they watch how other people solve the same problem in different ways.
Teams face off to answer questions spanning several academic subjects areas, plus current events and kid-sumer issues. The team confers to give its best answers on the Written Round. Teams use a buzzer system for the Oral Round, giving their best answer in 15 seconds or less, making this a fast, exciting event with lots of chances to learn new things!