Destination Imagination, 2018: Teams Forming Soon with Innovation and Fun to Follow

Creativity blossoms during Destination Imagination gatherings – Image (c) Jennifer Cunningham, 2018 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image

Submitted by Jennifer Cunningham for Bedford MADI

Does your child want to spend this winter working with friends to create something AWESOME??

Maybe designing an aircraft, creating a new game gizmo, or researching a medical mystery.  How about an original musical; a super-strong, uncrushable tower; or an original improv skit?   Bedford Destination Imagination is forming new teams for the upcoming season!

Destination Imagination (DI) is a project-based extracurricular that teaches kids the creative process, from concept to design to execution, with an emphasis on teamwork, originality, and problem-solving. DI fosters students’ curiosity through open-ended academic challenges in the fields of science, engineering, technology, fine arts, and service learning. In working to solve DI Challenges, teams learn 21st-century skills (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication) by using individual talents and interests to create something entirely new as a team.

Each year the challenges change but their basic premise remains the same: kids research, construct, and present entirely original work in a team-selected domain (such as technology, structural engineering, science, or fine arts).

Students are matched up into teams of up to 7 students in or close to their grade level in the fall, and work together all winter on solving the problems of their selected challenge, including writing scripts, building scenery, and designing props and costumes on a very small budget, entirely without input or assistance from people outside of their team. This means everything about the project from concept to design to execution is entirely student-driven – parents and  coaches can’t measure, cut or nail together wood for the team, sew costumes, fix something that falls apart, or most importantly tell the kids what is a good or a bad idea – they determine that themselves!

Over the course of the season, kids learn about time management, resource management, and the design process while teaching themselves things they never knew they could learn how to do.

How does DI work?

Students in grades 2 through 12 work in teams from 2 to 7 members to solve long-term Challenges and practice Instant Challenges. The most important thing to remember is that this program is student-driven! There is absolutely no outside help allowed.  Team Members generate the ideas, execute the ideas, and plan a performance showcasing their ideas.  If the kids think it’s a great idea (and it’s safe), no adult will tell them NO!

What exactly do the kids do?

  • At the beginning of the season, teams select a challenge from an array of choices such as Fine Arts, Engineering, Science, or Technology (except Rising Star teams (Grade 2), who only have one challenge option).   These challenges require children to stretch their creativity as they research and design a solution that must be presented in a short skit (up to 8 minutes).
  • Over the course of the season, children begin by brainstorming ideas for a possible solution and doing research into technical and artistic aspects of their project. Later, they invent a storyline for their skit and plan the props, sets, costumes, technical devices, etc., that they need to build. Then they build, paint, design, write, sew, and CREATE.   DI requires that the children solve their challenges without INTERFERENCE from adults, including parents!
  • Solutions are presented at a Regional Tournament in March to a panel of appraisers and an audience of family, friends and other DI-ers. Everything presented at a tournament is created only by the kids themselves.

What exactly do kids learn?

Innovation, cooperation, collaboration, risk taking, communication, leadership, listening skills, perseverance, self-confidence, and much more – plus the joy of creating something from nothing, all on their own!

How much time is needed for DI?

The DI season begins as early as September, but many (most) teams do not start until October or November, and some don’t begin until January. The average Team meets once a week for 1-2 hours, and as the tournament approaches the team may decide to add additional practice time.  Students often have creative hands-on projects to work on in between meetings. The time requirement may vary by age, Challenge chosen, and the competitive ambitions of the team.  Each team (of no more than seven) chooses a meeting schedule that works for them and for their families.

How Are Teams Formed?

  • Friends can join DI together and form a new team.
  • We can help students find a team, or help form a team if a student doesn’t know anyone else who has signed up.
  • Current DI Students often reform their team each year with the same students. Sometimes everyone comes back, sometimes not.
  • Current teams with less than seven students can choose to bring in new team members (and often do).
  • Teams on occasion split into two teams, or join to form one team or have a member move from one team to another.
  • Students need to convince a couple of their parents to co-manage a team because we are a 100% volunteer organization and there are no teams if there are no team managers!

My student is interested!  How can I learn more?

Bedford MADI will be holding an information session at Lane School on September 26, and you can find us in our booth at Bedford Day; we will be happy to tell you more!

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