Destination Imagination is a creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork competition which inspires children to apply science, math and the arts in fun, innovative ways. We have found that the program encourages students to take risks, develop resilience, hone creative and critical thinking skills, gain oral presentation skills, and enjoy working as a team. And since every Destination Imagination solution must be entirely student created, it is a great practice in empowerment and self-sufficiency. In fact, we have found the competition to be so effective at promoting innovation and collaboration that we have incorporated it directly into our elementary school curriculum. Every elementary school student is part of a Destination Imagination team and has the experience of participating in both Instant and Team Challenges.
The vision of Destination Imagination is to teach students the creative process and empower them with the skills needed to succeed in an ever-changing world. The DI mission is to develop opportunities that inspire a global community of learners to utilize diverse approaches in applying 21st century skills and creativity. The Destination Imagination program uses a fun hands-on system of learning that fosters students’ creativity, courage and curiosity through open-ended academic Challenges in the fields of STEM, fine arts and service learning. Participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process. (Destination Imagination 2016)
Kindergarten through 2nd Grade participate in The Rising Stars! for Early Learners Challenge which offers simple experiences with the creative process and gives young students a chance to work together to solve an open-ended challenge. 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. The Kindergarten students perform their solution on campus. The First and Second Grade teams present their performances in the showcase at the regional Destination Imagination tournament.
Throughout the school year and, for First and Second Grade students, at the regional tournament showcase, students practice Instant Challenges. Instant Challenges are MacGyver-like scenarios in which students are given a set amount of materials which they use in a compressed amount of time to design and execute a given task they have never seen before. The Instant Challenge provides students with the experience of having to think critically and creatively on demand, simulating what they might encounter someday when perhaps they are working for NASA and are posed with the problem of finding a way for a damaged spacecraft to be able to successfully re-enter our atmosphere.
Starting in Third Grade, our students participate in the competitive arm of Destination Imagination. The Team Challenge may focus on technology, science, engineering, or drama and the visual arts and culminates in a dramatic presentation at local, state and global competitions. 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 country and 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 these Challenges, teams learn 21st century skills (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, citizenship and courage) to build on their unique strengths.
In addition to performing their solutions to the Team Challenge, as part of the competitive arm students also compete in Instant Challenges. Instant Challenges are MacGyver-like scenarios in which students are given a set amount of materials which they use in a compressed amount of time to design and execute a given task they have never seen before. The Instant Challenge provides students with the experience of having to think critically and creatively on demand, simulating what they might encounter someday when perhaps they are working for NASA and are posed with the problem of finding a way for a damaged spacecraft to be able to successfully re-enter our atmosphere.