GREENBRIER — Destination Imagination Creative Day at Wooster Elementary School brought together over 65 teams of students for a fun day of problem solving. Students from kindergarten through twelfth grade worked in teams of up to seven on six different challenges. There are no right or wrong answers to challenges — only opportunities to create solutions and sharpen their team skills. Their five minute timed presentations were appraised by the other groups in their room and the watchful eyes of a Destination Imagination University student leader.
Robin Clark, Project Director at Greenbrier High School, coordinated this huge effort with the help of Patti Thompson, Co-Director for the state, and Angela Hartman, Specialist from Wooster. Close to 600 parents and students came from schools along the I-30 corridor as far away as Texarkana. This was a “just for fun” day, with no competition, instead of the yearly competitions that usually drive these functions.
Mike Mitchell, DI State Director, was on hand for the fun and commented, “We know we are developing many of our future business leaders. Kids are on their own solving mind bending problems, both short term and long term, on a team. Team builders — that’s what we do. We start them early as little Rising Stars at the kindergarten through 2nd grade in cooperation with Head-start programs. Then divisions are Elementary 3rd through 5th grades, Middle School 6th through 8th, High School 9th through 12th, and on up through the University level who come back as advisors and judges.”
DI covers all areas of learning, while incorporating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The Fine Arts and Improvisation are also thrown in for good measure. The program encourages teams to have fun, take risks, focus, and frame challenges on tasks chosen each year by a National Advisory Board. They learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the process of solving problems together.
Greenbrier High School is hosting the Northern Region competition this year on March 2. Southern Region competition is February 23 in Hope, Ark. The State Tournament is April 6 in Benton at their Middle School. A team typically works on a challenge for two to four months before presenting their Challenge Solution at a competition. If you have never seen these bright kids in action, come as a volunteer or even a spectator to have a really good time with the youth.
On this “just for fun” day at Wooster, there were six challenges the teams rotated through in half-hour periods. All used small objects as props, a focus challenge that was read to them, the ability to solve the problem with the objects given, and a presentation in five minutes to their group. With much thoughtful consideration, high-jinks and hilarity, the following challenges were met:
1. Babbling: To build a space satellite and restore communication that was lost in an explosion. No talking was allowed, although they could babble and use sign language.
2. National Treasure: Find three unusual objects hidden in a treasure and create a skit from them.
3. Span the Gaps: Create a bridge to span five different objects
4. Network: Create a net from everyday objects to span between three towers and hold weight for ten seconds.
5. Laugh It Up: Communicate only with laughter to move a paper object from one place to another.
6. What’s In the Kitchen? While half the team is hidden, the other half creates a skit to identify kitchen objects. Upon re-entry, the other half must guess the kitchen objects.
When their challenges were done, a hilarious time for theater improvisation practice was for all ages.
Many large corporations like Apple, Disney, Texas Instruments, 3M, and Motorola help sponsor DI; but without the constant support of many parents and teachers in each community, it could not endure. Everyone, whether you have children or not, can volunteer to help or sponsor a team. Just a small donation for a season’s ribbons, awards, and tournament expenses can start a team. For more information or to get involved call 501-520-7337 or go to www.ArkansasDI.org.