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Competitive problem solving for all ages.

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Destination Imagination, Creative Problem Solving, Fun for All.

  • May 9, 2009
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     Destination Imagination is an exciting, challenging program for all participants. It is usually available through schools who offer it as an enrichment for select students, usually coached by a teacher for the gifted and talented, or as an after school activity for any interested individual. I volunteered as a coach for three years with various students as they progressed from fourth to sixth grade. My group was the after school activity open to any student. As the coach in this program I served as a guide to the participants by helping to keep them focused, identifying strengths and talents and building skills. The coach may not participate in solving the problem or in creating any aspect of the presentation. I set the times of meetings, provided instant challenges for practice in that aspect of the challenge and took them on excursions to building supply stores, scrap exchanges, craft classes, and other learning opportunities. We generally began meeting in September with increasing frequency until the local tournaments in March. I found my role demanding, frustrating, tiring yet very exhilarating. Many times after a busy day  I did not look forward to meeting with the group, but the change of pace and the creative energy somehow energized me. We learned how to work with pvc pipe and pipe cutters, sewing machines, power tools, paints, tarps, and each other. 
     The first year was a team without a coach or meetings until the end of November at which time seven boys and I met and became a team. They built a tow vehicle and a pageant wagon put together with an old radio flyer wagon, pvc pipe, connectors, duct tape, with a home made cloth sides towed by a small bicycle. Parents were trying to help at the end and I had to repeatedly tell them not to direct or touch, even as we approached the tournament area.  That year we came in almost last, but we finished and competed which was a major accomplishment. The next two years  we did much better. We had a few girls join the team to add some balance. We all had much more experience and were very successful. Year two we had to move six eggs through  a course of very specific obstacles; we had a renaissance theme with white and dark knights.  The last year we had a space theme with certain types of motors needed. The last two years we placed and came in first in instant challenge.
      The hardest part as an adult, and as a parent was not telling them what to do. All of the work had to come from the young team members. That included the creating of a concept and theme, writing the dialogue and songs, building and creating scenery, selecting costumes, and any requirements to the challenge which are very specific. There are points for every aspect and the team had to be made aware of where the points were and how to allocate their time and resources. As I reminisce I can feel the energy  and exhilaration building as I think about  these rewarding accomplishments. As you can tell I feel that this was time well spent.

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October 22, 2009
I've just heard about Destination Imagination at a meeting for parents of gifted kids....one of the moms there said it was offered to her kids at school. I like the idea of it being available to anyone who is interested, maybe as an after-school program. I'm going to try and get more information about it and talk to our school principal about the possibility of having it offered at our school. Really enjoyed your description of your experiences with the program!
May 09, 2009
Wow Kathryn, that does sound like a challenging yet rewarding program. As a part time Teacher, I know I often find myself wishing we had more "time" to help encourage these characteristics and skills you're describing. You're program sounds like a step for improving education in America which is commendable. Very well organized review-- I look forward to reading more of what you've got. Perhaps even one on your frustrations with Sudoku :)!
About the reviewer
Kathy Edds ()
Ranked #291
I am a wife, married to my husband, Ken, since 1975, the mother of three adult children and a grandmother to two adorable grandsons. I was a "stay at home" mother who found ways to be self employed … more
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Teams of two to seven members compete in two types of challenges: team challenge and instant challenge. In team challenge, team members select a challenge from a given list. Competing in a tournament like setting the team presents their solution in a set duration dramatic presentation which is judged on the specific requirements of the challenge as well as visual and auditory enhancement. The instant challenge component shows the team thinking on their feet with a verbal or other challenge. The combined scores of the prepared presentation plus the impromptu instant challenge determine the winner. The teams compete at a local level with the winners proceeding to the state level. The state winners go on to the National Tournament held in May. http://www.idodi.org/index.php/home
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