A couple of teams from Decatur ISD are putting their creativity and teamwork skills to the test this weekend near Austin.
Both the high school and middle school Destination Imagination teams won their regional competitions last month to earn a trip to the state competition today.
Destination Imagination promotes skills such as creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration. Teams of students work together to complete challenges. Those challenges are designed to encourage students to think on their feet and use teamwork.
The only thing the high school team knows in advance about its challenge is that they need to bring a shoebox toolkit with items such as duct tape, pliers, screwdrivers, a box cutter, scissors, nuts, bolts and screws. Each team will learn its challenge just an hour-and-a-half before they have to perform the assigned task.
That’s where they must use their other toolbox – the one that lies in their imaginations.
At the regional competition March 1 at Carrollton’s Creekview High School, the high school team brought items they might need for a trip to the Amazon – but only what would fit in a carry-on suitcase. Their challenge, revealed the day of the competition, was to create a PowerPoint presentation about certain aspects of their trip. The team was given two hours to create their presentation.
In the final 15 minutes, they were given a random challenge: they had to include a photo of a woman wearing a Christmas tree on her head.
Team member Michaela Drewry explained how they tackled the challenge.
“We had to incorporate that into our safari trip,” she said. “It was pretty cool. When we presented, what we ended up doing was, (saying) ‘When we were in the Amazon, we were thinking about our Aunt Linda.'”
The junior high team will have two challenges. The first is one they have been preparing for since the beginning of school – the main challenge – and the other is an instant challenge they won’t find out about until the competition.
Destination Imagination manager Brooklyn Stapleton explained what an instant challenge might look like.
“They walk into a room, and they are given crazy stuff like toothpicks, cotton balls, tape and say something like, ‘Build a bridge that is 2 feet long and will stand by itself.’ You’ve got like five minutes to build it,” she said.
The main challenge, dubbed “Laugh Art Loud,” included the following instructions:
- Research works of art created by artists who were from a nation other than the United States.
- Theatrically present a comic strip that is based on a work of art created by the artist from another nation.
- Create three live comic strip panels.
- Create an ARTifact that is inspired by the work of art.
- Design and create a Caption Contraption for one of the comic strip panels.
The junior high teams are managed by Sara Hurst and Sue DeHart. Stapleton and Christi Perkins manage the high school team.
Decatur’s teams will compete against more than 450 other teams from around the state. The winners of the state competition will advance to the global competition to be held in Tennessee.