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What is Destination Imagination?
Destination Imagination® is a fun, hands-on system of learning that fosters students’ creativity, courage and curiosity through open-ended academic Challenges in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), fine arts and service learning. Our participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process. Teams showcase their solutions at tournaments all over the world.
Destination Imagination is a non-profit, volunteer-led, cause-driven organization. Its purpose is to inspire and equip students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. Approximately 200,000 youth make friends and learn the creative process through DI programs every year, and are supported by nearly 40,000 volunteers.
Destination Imagination’s programs are developed annually to ensure they are relevant and align to National Education Standards, STEM standards, ELA Common Core Standards, and Mathematics Common Core Standards. Every year, with the help of parent volunteers, educators, and subject matter experts, DI designs new and exciting Challenges for student teams to solve.
How the DI Challenge Program Works
Up to seven members can be on a DI team, and students from kindergarten through university level participate. Each team also needs an adult Team Manager. Team Managers help students stay on track, but do not directly help the team to develop its solution to the DI Challenge. Team Managers are often faculty members or parents.
DI fosters students’ curiosity, courage and creativity as they solve Challenges together as a team. A big part of our program is the Interference policy: in short, kids have to imagine, create and develop solutions on their own. Parents, Team Managers, family and friends can’t suggest ideas or force teams in certain directions. Outsiders can only facilitate the acquisition of skills and knowledge.
There are seven new Challenges to choose from each year. Each of the Challenges is developed by a team of educators and industry experts who target a particular area of the curriculum and its related standards of content and performance. The areas of focus include: Technical, Scientific, Fine Arts, Improvisational, Structural and Service Learning. There is also a non-competitive Early Learning Challenge that allows children to further develop their social skills and nurtures their curiosity and creativity.
The season takes place from September through May. Depending on the Challenge, teams typically spend 2 to 4 months developing and practicing their Challenge solutions. While most schools run DI as an after school program, some school districts incorporate the program into their electives curriculum.
After weeks spent creating and developing their solutions, the team solutions are assessed at regional, state, or international tournaments. Our tournaments provide the opportunity for participants to celebrate creativity with their peers and promote healthy competition. Every year, local volunteers help run 200 tournaments around the world. Top-scoring teams advance to their state or country tournament, also known as an Affiliate Tournament. The top tier teams from each Affiliate Tournament have the opportunity to participate in Global Finals—the world’s largest celebration of creativity.
Participants learn and experience the creative process from imagination to innovation, which fosters their curiosity, courage and creativity. Students in our program learn higher order thinking and improve in creative and critical thinking while learning to work together as a team. Participants also have the opportunity to develop new friendships with students around the world.
How You Can Get Started
If you are trying to find a local Destination Imagination program, or would like to launch a new DI program at your school, please contact us—we’re eager to help!
The volunteers on NH-DI’s Outreach Committee will answer any questions that you have about our programs. We can also send NH-DI representatives to help run a DI Information Night at your school.