What began as a science enrichment class for seven home schooled students has quickly put Northern Colorado on the map as these students took second place at the Colorado State Destination Global Tournament! Destination Imagination is a non-profit organization that issues science challenges to teams of youth every year encouraging creativity, critical thinking, and team work. This year’s global tournament will be held at The University of Tennessee in
Knoxville, May 25-28. Thirty countries and 600 teams will gather for an “Olympic style” opening ceremony complete with teams entering behind their country’s flag. The teams will spend the next few days in spirited, yet fun competition. Corporations and sponsors such as NASA, 3M, and Volvo will be on hand with huge exhibits and displays to attract and engage these young scientists.
This elementary team, made up of students from Lyons and Estes Park, consists of Cassidy Becker, Cody Becker, Axel Engel, Jack London, Sarah Reinertsen, Simon Stone, and Amos Westley. Each team must come up with a creative name. The students came up with the name DIBS (Destination Imagination Builders Society). Team Manager and Options School teacher, Judy Hall, has met with the team every week since September. The Options School is an enrichment program for home schooled students. Mrs. Hall introduced the home school families to Destination Imagination. The program’s goals were right in line with the hands-on educational philosophy the school promotes and many home school families value.
The team manager may guide and provide supervision to the team, but the students must come up with solutions to the challenges on their own without adult interference. Teams may choose one of six challenges. The DIBS Team chose the challenge titled, “Verses! Foiled Again!” This challenge had four parts: Design and build a structure made only of aluminum foil, Balsa wood and glue; Test how much weight the structure will hold; present a story about a character that is foiled; integrate team-written verse and published verse into your story. The focus on this challenge was to teach students Architectural Design, Structural Engineering, Construction, Material Science, Research, Innovation and Design Process, Mathematics, Theater Arts, Poetry, and Teamwork.
The DIBS team built a structure that weighed only 22.8 ounces and the structure did not break during the competition when 730 pounds were placed on it! The judges actually want the structure to break so they can inspect the broken structure to insure that all pieces were built according the rules. After the maximum allowed weight was put on the structure, the audience was amazed when the judges ordered that weight continue to be added on top of the structure to crush it. The engineered design by the team did not break until over 1,000 pounds were placed on it!
The story the students wrote was about a band of pirates that plays a trick and foils their captain, Blackbeard. Students designed and made their own props and scenery for the story they dramatized and presented before the panel of judges and audience. They had the highest score in the state for their dramatic presentation. One of the props designed and made by Amos Westley, a cannon made out of only wood, glue and foil, received what the judge believed to be the highest score ever seen at the Colorado State Tournament. Another part of the competition is the Instant Challenge. The team goes into a room and is given a problem to work out in front of a panel of judges in a limited amount of time. Judges give marks according to how the students work together as a team, communicate, remember all of the instructions, think critically, and their creativity. The students earned high marks in all areas last weekend, earning them second place at the State Tournament. The two top teams qualified for the Global Competition to represent Colorado.