Destination ImagiNation (DI) is an exhilarating after-school activity in which students work in teams to solve mind-bending Challenges and present their solutions at Tournaments. Teams are tested to think on their feet, work together and devise original solutions that satisfy the requirements of the Challenges. Participants gain more than just basic knowledge and skills—they learn to unleash their imaginations and take unique approaches to problem solving.

It is widely recognized that creativity, innovation, and the ability to manage change are essential competencies for today’s students – who live in, and are preparing to enter the workplace in, a world of rapid and accelerating change. A survey of more than 400 employers found their biggest concerns were that youth lacked 21st-century skills that will make them competitive in the job market. Three-fourths of those employers viewed creativity and innovation to be among the top-five skills most important in the current climate (eSchool News, October 2006). Based on more than five decades of research and development of Creative Problem Solving (CPS), we know that individuals and groups from the primary grades through adulthood can learn and apply creativity, teamwork, and problem solving.

SMS gives students  in grades K – 8 the opportunity to participate in Destination ImagiNation (DI).  Students in grades K – 2 can participate in the exhibition level of DI called the Rising Stars if they want to get their feet wet before joining a competitive team at the elementary level (grades 1 – 5). The middle level is for students in grades 6 – 8.

Under the supervision of a parent volunteer who acts as a Team Manager (Coach), two-to-seven member teams use creative and critical thinking skills to solve challenges. The solutions to these challenges are then presented to appraisers at tournaments at the Regional, State, and International levels. DI usually begins in mid-to-late October.

SMS has had much success with DI, sending teams to the Regional, State and Global levels for many years . In 2007 – 08, three out of the four teams from SMS advanced to the State tournament held at UW Stevens Point, with a team advancing to the Global Finals Tournament where they placed 14th out of 79 teams.  In 2008-09, two teams advanced to the State level and a return trip to Global Finals was earned by one of the teams where they placed 5th.

In 2009-10, SMS fielded five DI teams including a Rising Stars team. This represents almost half of the enrollment.  One Elementary Level team scored third in their Central Challenge and first in the Instant Challenge.  Three teams from the Regional Tournament qualified for the State tournament.  Again, the Middle Level Team earned a return trip to  Global Finals where they placed second.

The 2010-11 season is underway and SMS has six teams including one Rising Stars team, three teams in the Elementary Level and two teams in the Middle Level.  Good luck to all!

For more information on DI, click here. If you have any questions about the program or would like to volunteer as a Team Manager, please contact our SMS DI Coordinator,  Cindy Massey.