The Destination Imagination global community is united by a core belief that when students have the freedom to grow and collaborate without boundaries, their confidence explodes and the world opens up to them in new ways. We enable this transformation by providing challenges rooted in STEAM subjects that inspire unique solutions through the use of the creative process.
We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to tell their story, share their unique creations and be celebrated for what they’ve accomplished. Through witnessing this process of creative self-expression and validation, students blossom into more confident and knowledgeable individuals, learning in-demand career and life skills (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, citizenship and courage) to build on their unique strengths.
Here’s a simple breakdown of the program:
DI teaches the creative process by allowing teams to solve Challenges together. A big part of our program is the Interference policy: in short, 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. Outsiders can only facilitate the acquisition of skills and knowledge.
THE TEAM: 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 form 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. While many schools run DI as an after school program, Destination Imagination could be incorporated into a school’s elective curriculum. However, teams DO NOT need to be affiliated with schools. You may form a team with your friends and family as part of a homeschool, church, or community group or formed independently from any organization.
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. In-person or virtual training for Team Managers is provided.
PARENTS & FAMILY: Parents and other family members can stay involved with teams by supporting their Team Managers. Teaching team members new skills, helping to find supplies, or even providing snacks are a few of the ways parents can help out. They can also volunteer to help out at local tournaments.
THE CHALLENGES: Destination Imagination Challenges are the prompts or guidelines for what a team creates. Our Challenges are open-ended, allowing teams to express themselves creatively and take full ownership of their solutions. Challenges are designed to teach the creative process—a system of learning that is at the root of innovation and a child’s ability to bring an idea to life. Each team participates in two kinds of Challenges during the season.
TEAM CHALLENGE: There are seven new Challenges to choose from each year. Each of the Challenges is developed by a team of educators and industry experts who target a particular area of the curriculum and its related standards of content and performance. The areas of focus include: Technical, Scientific, Fine Arts, Improvisational, Engineering, and Service Learning. There is also a non-competitive Early Learning Challenge that allows PK-2 participants to develop social and problem solving skills. Click here to preview the Challenges.
INSTANT CHALLENGE: 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 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. North Dakota’s local tournament is held collaboratively with Minnesota DI and typically takes place in later March or early April. For teams that qualify for Global Finals and choose to advance, their season may extend into May of each year.
TOURNAMENTS: 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.