By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Three local Destination Imagination teams were among 1, 464 teams from around the world at the Globals Tournament at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn. May 25-28. Over 8,000 students — including those from Vandegrift, Canyon Ridge Middle School and Laura W. Bush Elementary — from over 20 countries were competing at DI Globals.
Vandegrift came in 5th place at Globals out of 62 teams in the high school level structural competition called “Musical Mashup”. This was only the second year for VHS to compete in DI.
“Many international teams competed in our division including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, China, Qatar and Poland,” said Keni Renner, one of the team managers.
The structural challenge was to design a musical instrument that would both play music and support weight. The musical instrument and weight placement needed to be integrated into an original team written skit that included a musical character. The Vandegrift team’s solution was staged as a presentation at Harvard by Elizabeth Kubler Ross to introduce her new theory on death and dying.
“She told the story of a musical composer going through the five stages of grief before he wrote his ‘grand symphony’ which was played on the musical instrument. The team designed musical instrument held 740 pounds and weighed only 15.6 grams,” Renner said.
The team also received points for a Raspberry Pi controlled backdrop which played symphonic music when touched and a large talking metronome shadow puppet which delivered various handmade instruments to the composer which he played to highlight each stage of grief.
While at Globals, the Viper team participated in technical and cultural workshops like a “Thermal Design Challenge” and “Solving the World’s Greatest Problems” put on by companies such as NASA, Ford Motor Company and Engineers without Borders. They also attended an international block party and “Duct Tape Ball”, went DI geo-caching but their favorite part was pin trading and getting to meet other students from around the nation and around the world, Renner said.
The Canyon Ridge Middle School DI team, Heptamojis, placed 25th out of 78 teams in the “Pace of Change” middle level technical challenge.
“The team designed a vehicle that could carry one person across a 14-foot stretch using two different propulsion and two different movement methods,” said Martha Montemayor-Rapier, team manager. They also presented their solution with a unique skit.
“These are some of the most creative and hard-working middle schoolers you’ll ever meet,” she added.
The CRMS team began their DI year in October working on two separate challenges. At the regional level, the Heptamojis earned 1st place in both challenges. At the state level, they earned 1st place on the technical challenge.
“This has truly been a year of hard work, learning, fun, team building, and lots of success,” said Montemayor-Rapier. “The team’s experience was unforgettable.”
The Laura Welch Bush Elementary DI team, The Time Surfers, placed 12th out of 57 teams competing in the fine arts category “Get A Clue-I” at the elementary level.
The team had to create a performance about a mystery story set in the past that had three suspects and that used a technical device to help solve the mystery. To make it especially challenging, the team had to open an envelope provided by the judges during the performance that told them who the real suspect was, said Heather Nielson, team manager.
“They had to be prepared with three different endings because they did not know which person ‘did it’ until the actual show,” Nielson said.
The Time Surfers performed a story about two girls from the 1980s who invented a time machine. A shadowy figure stole their time machine and then the girls had to pursue him through time. Along the way, they met Elvis Presley, Queen Elizabeth, and a talking dinosaur. For their technical device, the girls created their own lie detector. The team had to write the script, create the costumes, build the props, etc. all on their own without adult assistance.
On a different day, each team at DI also had to compete in an instant challenge, which involves solving a problem on the spot as a team in a short period of time. Teams are judged on creativity, teamwork, and the quality of their solution.
“Overall, Global finals was an amazing experience. The girls loved meeting creative people from so many different places and trading pins with them,” Nielson said. They especially loved the “Duct Tape Ball”where everyone had to create costumes out of duct tape for a huge dance party. The LWBE team dressed as different social media.
The Time Surfers worked hard all year on the fine arts challenge, meeting weekly since August last year.
“When you ask the girls what they favorite part of DI is, they will all tell you it’s the team bonding and creativity that is nurtured throughout this amazing opportunity,” said Terri Hinojosa, LWBE QUEST teacher.
“We are so grateful for the support of Leander ISD,” Nielson said.
Hinojosa echoes those thoughts.
“We are so incredibly lucky to have a district that supports DI as much as Leander ISD does. This program not only inspires creativity, but offers students the chance to develop growth mindsets that help build character and strong work ethics to help them succeed in the future,” Hinojosa said.