Destination Imagination team at BAMS preparing for competition that could bring them to global finals
Destination Imagination teams from Bellefonte Area Middle School have been working since the start of the school year to prepare for a competition in the spring that could take them back to the global finals for the second time in two school years. After all, the 14 students that make the two teams, are riding on motivation from a fourth-place finish in June and aiming to improve along the way by working on projects that can set them up for success.
Destination Imagination is a project-based program that offers STEAM-based challenges to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
“It’s about collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity,” staff adviser Jackie Wynkoop said.
The teams have until the day of competition to create a solution for one of six challenges they select to present. An instant challenge makes up for 25 percent of a team’s score.
One project, called “Daring Escape,” requires the team to participate in a technical challenge to build three devices and create hazards. Through the presentation, the devices must overcome obstacles, while also adhering to a set of restrictions. The other project, called “Tricky Tales,” is a fine arts challenge that allows the students to tell the story of a trickster using technical elements to decide whether or not the trickster overcomes an obstacle. It must also include a costume transformation and illusion to enhance the story.
As for the instant challenge, the students have no idea just what it will consist of.
On Nov. 11, the group met after school to work on an instant challenge that encouraged them to improvise through a project without knowing the idea more than a couple minutes before the timer started. In this case, the two teams were asked to build freestanding towers using items such as index cards, mailing labels, paperclips, paper cups, pipe cleaners, rubber bands, sheets of paper and straws. It was even suggested against using the same material for each tower, which afforded them more points.
Seventh-grader Daniel Olamoyegun, said his team worked together by stacking cups and using rubber bands to hold together other items for a tower that was more than 30 inches high. He added that while one part of his team was working on the first tower idea, other student members of his team were brainstorming ideas for the second tower.
Destination Imagination teams meet every week after school at the middle school library and review an extensive set of rules before delving into their projects. After the new year, the group will meet twice a week leading up to the competition.
There is also a team of three students at Bellefonte Area High School with science teacher Drew Eddinger.
Bellefonte’s Destination Imagination team among the best in the world in inaugural year
In its first year at Bellefonte Area Middle School, the Destination Imagination team placed among the best in the world, finishing fourth in June at the global finals. The event was held virtually due to pandemic restrictions and included 77 teams.
Staff adviser Jackie Wynkoop said the students worked “tirelessly” to create a solution for the competition. Titled, “The Next Level Technical,” students were required to create a five-minute or less video that presented a video game.
The game must have included an adventurer who goes on a quest in search of an ultimate prize. Along the way, it also had to collect three quest items that connect to create a tool, in addition to giving the adventurer a special ability. The tool and the special ability must have been portrayed using technical methods through scientific means such as chemistry, physics, engineering and more.
Wynkoop said the students also had to develop a solution to a Fast Flex challenge, that required the students to solve an in-depth challenge in less than two weeks. In a five-minute-or-less video, students presented the “boss level” of a video game that must have incorporated interactive scenery that performs a task when initiated by a team member. This was created with a Rube Goldberg machine.
The team was eligible for the global finals after placing first at states and in the northeastern region.
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*By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD