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Ava R-1 Students Compete At State DI Tournament

Two Ava R-1 School teams competed Saturday, April 14 at the Destination Imagination State Tournament on the Missouri Southern State University campus in Joplin.

Destination Imagination’s educational goals are to foster creative and critical thinking, to develop teamwork, collaboration and leadership skills, and to nurture research and inquiry skills involving both creative exploration and attention to detail.

Teams compete in various central challenges that require complex thinking, problem solving, teamwork and creativity. There is a challenge that relates to each of the following areas: technical, scientific, theatrical, structural, improvisation, and philanthropic.

The goal of the central challenge is that the team develops a solution that is integrally tied into a creative skit. Points are awarded not only for completing the challenge’s requirements, but also for creativity, teamwork, and performance.

Improv Challenges (the area where most teams in our school compete) require team members to select skit elements (some pre-researched, some not) and create a skit. They then present their skit, which is limited to 5 minutes in length. This type of challenge diverges from the traditional script writing and acting to focus on quick thinking and teamwork.

Additionally, an important part of every DI competition is the Instant Challenge (IC). An Instant Challenge is a new, previously unseen challenge, requiring a quick, improvised solution. To maintain fairness, every team at a tournament competing in the same team challenge and age level is given the same Instant Challenge.

To maintain this surprise, Instant Challenges are conducted in a private room, with no more than one Team Manager for an audience, and the teams must pledge not to divulge the nature of the challenge until the competition is over.

Upon entering the Instant Challenge, a team is given a one-page description of its Instant Challenge and a set of items that the team’s members may use. The challenge is read aloud, and then the time begins. Teams are given between two and 10 minutes to create a solution; the typical duration is four to six minutes. A given challenge usually demands a dramatic presentation, a technical device or system, or both. The goal of the Instant Challenge is to exercise on-your-feet thinking, problem solving, and teamwork.

The elementary team “Sneaky Ninjas” (Paul McKee, Betty Stout, and Gavin Goss) earned third place in the Instant Challenge competition and placed 4th overall in their division on their level.

The high school team “Static Dub Bunnies Of Fire” (Eliza Higley, Bethany Cardwell, and Jamie Ramos) tied for first place in the Instant Challenge competition and placed 6th overall in their division on their level.

The Destination Imagination program encourages teams of learners to have fun, take risks, focus, and frame challenges while incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), the arts, and service learning.

The participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the creative problem solving process. 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.

Judges at regional competition were: Lisa McAllister, Susan Trowbridge, Wendy Thompson, Carol Owens, Crystal Ray, and Brooke Melton. Judges at state competition were Wendy Thompson and Carol Owens. Assistant coaches were Barb Andrus, Missy Tate, Carol Owens, Susan Trowbridge, Larry Bradshaw, Nanda Bradshaw, Cheryl Miller and Wendy Thompson.

For more information about Destination Imagination go to website or