WHAT WE DO
Each year we offer seven new standards-based Challenges. Each Challenge is open-ended and enables student teams to learn and experience the creative process from imagination to innovation. Academic tournaments take place around the world where teams have the opportunity to present their solutions to trained appraisers. Students have fun and gain confidence in their ability to solve any challenge. In working to solve our Challenges, teams learn life long skills of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, citizenship and courage to build on their unique strengths.
A DI team is a group of between 2 and 7 members that work together to develop a solution to one of our Team Challenges. Teams are responsible for designing and creating 100% of their Team Challenge solution. Absolutely no interference from non-team members is allowed. Teams are formed based on their grade or age and are designated as one of five Levels—the non-competitive Early Learning or the competitive Elementary, Middle, Secondary, or University Levels.
Read more about grade/age requirements for team formation
DI Challenges take on two distinct formats: Team Challenges and Instant Challenges
Each team selects one new and engaging Team Challenge requiring a solution that will be presented at the tournament. Team Challenges encourage students to explore their passions, discover their unique talents and abilities, and learn new skills. Team Challenges are available each year in the following categories: Technical, Scientific, Fine Arts, Improvisational, Engineering, Service Learning, and Early Learning. Although each Team Challenge has a specific educational focus, they each also incorporate elements to make them truly multi-disciplinary and cross-curricular (i.e., the Fine Arts Challenge will have a technical element and the Engineering Challenge will have an artistic or storytelling component.)
Instant Challenges are quick creative and critical-thinking exercises that build teamwork and reinforce problem-solving skills like rapid ideation and implementation. Instant Challenges can be task-based, performance-based, or a combination of both. All teams practice Instant Challenges during the year and are given one at the tournament.
THE CHALLENGE SEASON:
Teams form and begin meeting between August and January. They typically spend 2-6 months developing their Team Challenge solutions and practicing Instant Challenges. MN DI tournaments take place in March for 2023. For teams that qualify for Global Finals, their season may extend into May of each year. Teams that qualify can compete and celebrate at Global Finals.
DI teams can be formed in many ways. Some schools run DI as an after school program, some school districts incorporate the program into their electives curriculum. Other teams run independently and are not affiliated with any school district; they may be from the home school community, after school clubs and organizations, scout or 4H clubs, etc.
Up to seven members can be on a team, and students from kindergarten through university level participate. Each team needs an adult Team Manager, aged at least 18. Team Managers help students stay on track but do not directly help the team develop its solution to the DI Challenge. Team Managers can be faculty members, parents, other family or community members.
A hallmark of the experience is that Challenges are solved together together as a team. A big part of our program is the Interference policy: kids have to imagine, create and develop solutions on their own. Parents, Team Managers, family and friends can’t suggest ideas or force teams in certain directions. Non team members can only facilitate the acquisition of skills and knowledge.
THE TEAM MANAGER:
The Team Manager is an adult (often a parent or teacher) who teaches the creative process and helps keep the team on track, but does not assist or interfere with the team’s solution. Team Managers get access to valuable resources to help them along the way—a Team Manager Roadmap, as well as a catalogue of online learning modules they can access at their own pace. MN DI provides a range of virtual support and in person workshops for Team Managers and teams.
DI tournaments are where teams present their Team Challenge solutions and solve an Instant Challenge for feedback and scores. All team members may participate in both the Team Challenge and Instant Challenge portion of the tournament. Each Team’s scores from their Team Challenge and Instant Challenge are combined and then ranked against others solving the same Challenge in their level. Top placing teams are invited to the next tournament in their Affiliate or to DI’s Global Finals, whichever comes next.
Teams in our program learn higher order thinking and improve in creative thinking, critical thinking and collaborative problem solving. Our participants experience the creative process, develop new friendships and learn to work together. Jump over to the Tournaments menu to learn more.
STEM & Literacy Pathways for Early Learners (Pathways) is the most recent and innovative product to be developed by Destination Imagination (DI) for Early Childhood.
Pathways is designed to prepare 3- to 6-year olds with a jump start in literacy as well as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (“STEM”) 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.
Our Rising Stars! for Early Learners Challenge offers simple experiences with the creative process, and it gives young kids (preschool through 2nd grade) a place to work together and make new friends.
Every year, Destination Imagination writers develop a new Rising Stars! for Early Learners Challenge. They focus on creating a fun learning environment and allowing kids to be creative. The Challenge is noncompetitive, which helps ease pressure and lets kids play and experiment with their solutions. However, there is a showcase option, which allows teams to perform their solutions at a tournament.
Click here to preview our Early Learning programs.
LIVE AND ON DEMAND INFO SESSIONS
We are always eager to share what we do, and how you can join!