May 04, 2023

Destination Imagination Launches in the Middle School

Danielle Peterson

Middle School students in the Destination Imagination program hold up their awards.


Destination Imagination is a project-based, student-driven program that teaches kids to be innovative problem solvers. Using STEAM, teams of students collaborate, think outside the box, and create unique solutions to one of seven challenges in preparation for a fun problem-solving competition.


This year, GCS brought Destination Imagination to the Middle School, and what a spectacular success! Both middle school teams placed first in the state in their challenges to advance to the Global Finals this month.


Since November, two teams of sixth- and seventh-grade students have spent hours each week developing solutions to their respective challenges. One group tackled a technical challenge requiring them to build two puzzle solvers using specialized methods to construct a puzzle of their own creation. Only the puzzle solvers could touch the puzzle pieces. They also needed to tell a story where a character had a pivotal moment along with the placement of a crucial part of their puzzle.


The second team tackled an engineering challenge where they built a golf ball rollercoaster that traveled as far and fast as possible. Students were limited to just 14 materials with which they could utilize—including no nails or screws! In addition, they had to create a presentation that showed what the rollercoaster experience was like that included a thrilling event. The team also had to build a launching mechanism that used technical methods to start the golf ball on its track.


Both teams scored on team choice elements that highlighted particular skills, including their own composition and music playing, digital artwork, spray paint techniques, and lighted scenery design. These were no small feats! Teams were also required to complete “instant challenges” where they put their problem-solving and teamwork to the test to solve task or performance-based challenges in five to 10 minutes. Along the way, students grew as a team, as problem solvers, and as project managers. They developed ideas for their solutions and troubleshot along the way, learning the hard lesson that sometimes you have to start at the beginning again.


The Destination Imagination program is incredibly unique in allowing students to see they can solve complex problems and manage large and complicated tasks as a team.


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