Think Fast! 

Destination Imagination Team

Mrs. Janet Pannell

Love to invent new things and test new ideas? Want a chance to be creative, be crazy, be original? This class is for you! We will form teams to compete in Destination Imagination (DI), a world-wide competition of creativity and problem solving. In March, you will compete at a state-wide tournament. If you win, you have the option to compete at Global Finals against winning teams from all over the world.

DI has two parts:

  • Team Challenge: Challenges are released each year in the areas of technical, scientific, improv, fine arts, engineering, and service learning. Teams read the challenges and then decide which one they want to spend several months solving. The solutions are presented at a state tournament in March. The winning team has the option to compete against teams from all over the world at a US-based tournament in May. (See more at https://www.destinationimagination.org/challenge-program/. There are also billions of home videos taken by parents at tournaments - quality varies, but it gives you an idea of what a solution looks like. It helps to look for "Global Finals" or "Affiliate" winning solutions.)

  • Instant Challenge: Students are given a very short period of time, typically 4 to 10 minutes, to solve a high energy challenge. All teams are given the same set of instructions and materials, but they way the problem is solved can be hugely creative and different from each other. 

Along with learning how to build, invent, and create, students will learn strategies for building strong teams, communicating new ideas, becoming more innovative, working together, disagreeing without being disgruntled, focusing energy, projecting confidence, and more. Each week will include an instant challenge and time to work on the chosen team challenge.

In this class there are some important expectations for parents as well:

  • Be tolerant of messy building projects in your home or garage as tournament time approaches. (Teams build things like machines, sets, props, costumes, etc.) It is hard for some students to be creative and tidy at the same time.

  • Keep your ideas and your hands to yourself. A foundational principle of DI is that ALL ideas and constructions are from the team members themselves. In fact, if anybody not on the team gives an idea or helps on the project, the team is explicitly forbidden to use it. (As a parent, I can tell you this is harder than it sounds. It helps to leave the room or have your own creative project to work on so you aren't tempted to give "suggestions." Also, hold back the siblings because even their ideas can't be used.) You can teach skills, for example how to run the sewing machine or use the drill, but you cannot demonstrate on their actual project. Expect your student to struggle a bit but to learn a HUGE amount of practical skills because of this rule.

  • Take your student to the hardware store, thrift store, fabric store, etc. and pay for the supplies needed. Each challenge has a very limited budget, typically $150-$200. Parents pay for supplies, then at the end settle up with each other. While students might need more than supplies to experiment with, only about $150 of supplies can be used in the final solution. Teams get very creative with recycled materials, thrift store finds, garage sale materials, construction debris, etc.  because it lets them do more elaborate building than buying everything new.

Required materials:

  • Materials for creating and building will be purchased by parents as needed

  • Money for the tournament registrations and supplies (Approx $50. The exact amount will be divided by the number of team members.)

Materials Fee

  • $20 to pay for the printed challenges and instant challenge supplies

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