I managed 2 Destination Imagination teams for my kids this year. We started the end of January and just participated in the state tournament this Saturday. We had a middle school team that did the fine arts challenge of presenting a live movie trailer which was composed of 5 girls. We also had an elementary level team that did the structural challenge of building a small tower out of wood and glue and a delivery device to put golf balls inside the tower which was composed of 4 boys.
There were only about 15 teams who participated in the tournament which was very disappointing, but we were able to watch most of the presentations which was interesting and helpful. I think this is only the 3rd time they have had a tournament in Utah, so hopefully it will grow and get better over time. There was a lot of time spent waiting around when it wasn't their turn. They also participated in an Instant Challenge, but we aren't allowed to talk about it until after the global finals. I will say that those challenges were disappointing. One was way too simple which made it boring, and one was so confusing, that the team was unable to accomplish it because they just had no idea what to do.
The girls had a rough start in trying to get the team together. We had several girls drop out before we were settled on the 5 that stayed with it. Unfortunately, some of the girls who dropped out had a lot of influence on the story they picked, so it probably would have been different otherwise. Also, I really let them do the whole thing on their own. I read them the rules, but they were left to themselves so I think they did well for not having much guidance or skills taught to them. We had no idea we would have such a good chance of winning. #1 wrote the musical score for the original soundtrack and performed it on the keyboard, and it was awesome!! They had 1 minute to set up their set and 4 minutes to perform their trailer. They had planned to turn off the lights between scenes which they weren't allowed to do, and they had no idea they would be on a stage until we got there, so they were a little flustered and would definitely do some things differently next time. They ran out of time and were unable to perform their last scene so they were disappointed. But it worked out, because although they came in second, the first place team was from Idaho so they still got first for Utah and thus qualify for the global tournament.
The boys had a rough start this year also because they couldn't settle for sure on doing the structural challenge and some of them wanted to do a movie trailer like the girls. We finally figured out that we could just use popsicle sticks and hot glue and that they really didn't need to cut anything, because the challenges have to be done completely by the teams. The managers, parents and others can teach them skills and make sure they follow the rules, but the solution for the challenge has to be done by the team alone. The point of the tower was to make it hold as much weight as possible and then also they had to come up with a delivery device and they could earn extra pounds of weight for each golf ball delivered and captured in the tower. My boys made a couple prototypes with their dad and one of the other dads actually built a tester and another prototype with his son. they tested them all out and found out which one was the strongest in fact we couldn't break it as we only had weights up to about 120 lbs. So once we got to the challenge. The boys put on the big weights, delivered the golf balls fine and won by a lot even for the middle school level. Their tower held 265 lbs, but probably could have held more had they used smaller weights after the larger ones. They got 200 lbs. extra for holding 5 golf balls. It was pretty exciting. They were also supposed to make up a story or skit to go along with their tower, but they didn't, but most of the points were for the weight. The other teams put a lot more emphasis on the skit and their towers were not strong at all. So the boys easily took 1st place.
It was very exciting to be presented with their medals at the awards ceremony and the boys even got an extra medal for their instant challenge presentation which was a little surprising, but they were very happy about it. It was nice for them all to be recognized and to win. They all loved it. Now we have to decide whether to go to globals or not. We will definitely try to go. I would like them to see how a big tournament is run. There are a lot of activities planned also in conjunction with the tournament and people from all over the world coming, so I think it would be really good for them.
I am really glad that we did this program. I think it has been very beneficial overall. I think all the kids are excited to do even better next time and they got some good ideas of what else they can do and what can be done. I think that will happen even more so if we go to globals so I hope it works out!! Very fun and exciting!!