Frequently Asked Questions
What is Destination Imagination?
Our Mission is to develop opportunities that inspire a global community of learners to utilize diverse approaches in applying 21st century skills and creativity.
MN DI strives to provide a safe and culturally rich environment that promotes creative problem-solving, team-building and leadership skills by encouraging students to build on their natural strengths and discover skills they may not realize they possess. To achieve this goal, MN DI has selected the Destination Imagination program, for which it serves as the Minnesota Affiliate (state organization). MN DI is headquartered within Intermediate District 287.
Destination Imagination, Inc. is an international nonprofit organization based in New Jersey that teaches life skills and expands imaginations through youth-centered, team-based creative problem-solving. Destination Imagination is the world’s largest creativity and problem-solving program for youth of all ages, with thousands of participants spread across 50 U.S. states and more than 30 countries, including Canada, China, and countries in Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa.
DI offers six competitive challenges annually which are designed to stretch participants in many areas, and range in focus from Technical, Scientific, Fine Arts, Improvisational, and Engineering to Service Learning. We also offer the traditional DI experience to primary age students, age 6-9, through the non-competitive Rising Stars! Challenge. In addition, we offer our Pathways program, designed to prepare 3 to 6 year-olds with a jump start in literacy as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics and the arts (STEAM) concepts, while promoting critical and creative thinking skills. These skills, combined with DI’s unique and proven style, aim to increase social, emotional, and educational outcomes for participants.
Minnesota teams participate in three regions statewide, each with its own Regional Tournament. Teams may advance from Regional to the Affiliate (state) Tournament, and finally, to Global Finals where they compete with teams from around the world. In 2023 each of our regional tournaments will be qualifying events for Global Finals 23.
Who is eligible to join?
All students from preschool through college may participate on a team. Teams consist of two to seven members, and students are grouped by age or grade. Competitive teams range in age from third grade through college, while non-competitive Rising Stars!® teams are for students from preschool through grade 2. Rising Stars!® teams may have more than seven team members.
What does a team do?
Students work together during the season to solve their choice of one of six competitive challenges. The team then presents their rehearsed or improvisational solution in a 5 to 8 minute performance and solves an Instant Challenge (on-the-spot creative challenge) at one of the Regional Tournaments held across Minnesota in March. The highest ranking teams earn the opportunity to travel to the Global Finals Tournament in May. Most importantly, they have FUN while gaining life skills!
A team can start working on a Team Challenge as soon as members are recruited. We recommend that the Team Manager (TM) participate in a Team Manager training. TM trainings will be offered via Zoom this season in November. Teams will have the opportunity to learn how to solve Instant Challenges by attending an Instant Challenge Zoom workshop in December and January. We also offer comprehensive trainings in improv, technical skill building and structure building. Team fees for these workshops help offset workshop and program expenses. These hands-on, interactive trainings may give teams a competitive edge. Details on training dates and fees are on our Calendar page and Trainings page.
How often do teams meet?
Once a team is formed, its members decide how competitive they want to be and how often they want to meet. Teams typically meet once a week, but as they approach their Regional Tournament date, they may meet two or more times a week. This is entirely dependent on a team’s work style, other activities that compete for students’ time, the goals the team sets, and the availability of the Team Manager. Some teams meet frequently for short periods, others get together less often but for longer periods, and other teams use a combination of these approaches. Some teams elect to work singly, in pairs, or in small groups between team meetings.
Who manages the teams?
Any adult 18 or older may manage a team. (Assistant Team Managers may be younger.) Generally speaking, TMs are often one or two team parents, but a teacher or other interested adult may also manage a team. The solutions that students come up with are their own, not a Team Manager’s or anyone else’s outside the team. As a result, Team Managers need no special talents or skills—simply an interest in young people, a sense of humor, and a willingness to help students stay focused. MN DI offers a number of training opportunities for Team Managers and teams, and provides many avenues of support!
Who evaluates teams at competition?
DI is a volunteer, team-based organization at every level. Appraiser teams are assembled from trained volunteers to score student teams at regional and state tournaments across Minnesota. Appraisers commit to a half day of training in February, via Zoom. Many of our MN appraisers also appraise at Global Finals. Appraiser training is provided by our Affiliate Challenge Masters.
Does my team have to perform at a tournament?
No. While the goal of DI is for teams to share their creative journeys with appraisers at our tournaments, to see how other teams have solved the same Challenges, and to enjoy the community of DI, they can also do DI in the classroom, and at host school, district or community showcases.
What costs are involved?
Costs fall into four areas: Team Number purchase, tournament fees, working materials fees, and training fees.
- A team number. The team number gives a team access to a season’s Challenges and support materials, both online and via written materials. A team number may be purchased by a school, school district, parent/teacher organization or other civic organization, a home school organization, community group (like Boy and Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, 4-H), team, neighborhood, faith community – anyone can form teams. Team numbers are purchased from Destination Imagination, Inc. (click here). A team number costs $110 for a single team, including Rising Stars! primary teams.
- A background check. All team managers must pass a background check. A new background check is $25, and can be purchased through DI (click here for information on background checks). Background checks are performed through Sterling Volunteers. If a school district has background checks on their volunteers, they may use the group waiver form so they do not pay again.
- Minnesota DI tournament fees: In the past, MN DI teams perform at their Regional Tournaments beginning each February. Teams who amass the greatest points for their combined Team and Instant Challenge scores will be advanced to the Affiliate (State) Tournament in March. Highest ranking teams from the Affiliate Tournament will be invited to represent MN DI at the Global Finals tournament in May.
- 2022 tournament fees are $50 for Rising Stars! teams, and $150 for competitive teams. This is a one-time fee that is paid when teams register for their regional tournament.
- Costs for Global Finals can be found on the DI website here.
- Team managers may request that parents of team members contribute a working materials fee to cover the cost of items used to practice Instant Challenges and to solve the Team Challenge. Parents may also be asked to bring snacks to meetings, gather working materials, and help transport students and props to their regional tournament.
- Team Manager and team training fees range between $15 per person and $60 per team. See the Trainings page for a list of this season’s trainings and workshops.
How do I join?
Recruit a team of between two and seven members as soon as possible. Start A Team here!
Once payment is received and verified, you will be able to access the program materials online. Your team number(s) will be emailed to you. You can also check with Pamela to find them. You may pay for membership by credit card, purchase order, or by check through the mail.
MN DI tournament registration forms are posted annually on our website under Tournament Information. The contact person for each membership will be emailed when the forms are available. All registrations are due by January 31, 2023.
Although the Tournament registration deadline isn’t until January, you will want to get your team started before then to take advantage of every training opportunity. In addition, we offer free online newsletters and blog posts that provide tips, practice exercises and additional information throughout the program year. Our website is updated regularly, with tips and information released as the season progresses.
Note: It is not necessary to select a Team Challenge before recruiting a team. Ideally, this selection is made by the team during one of its early meetings.
The team’s Challenge selection must be named before the team can print a copy of their Team Challenge. It will also be filled out on our form when the team registers for their Regional Tournament.
How to use the MN DI website!
- MN DI Season: You can find all the info you need about this year’s MN DI program under the drop down menu: our MN DI calendar; training and workshop information; information about where and when our tournaments will be held; where you should register for our Affiliate Tournament, along with the registration link; information about what you will need for your tournaments (Tournament Info); and information about our international and scholarship/ recognition opportunities for teams.
- What is DI? Check it out under What We Do – this is where you can see the Challenge previews.
- Get Involved! All the info you need to Start A Team, learn about being a University Level team, and how to volunteer. Please consider being a tournament appraiser – see the interactive sign up form to appraise under the Volunteer tab.
- Resources – a handy page full of info for team managers and teams!
- Don’t forget to check under Helpful Resources at the bottom of each page, especially the DI Blog and our social media! Be sure to join our Team Manager Facebook page, and check it and the MN DI Facebook page regularly!
Where can I find more information?
Pamela Schroeder, MN DI Affiliate Director
Lynn Montgomery, MN DI Co Affiliate Director