Spend five minutes talking to Jane Foor, Pike-Delta-York Local School District’s Destination ImagiNation (DI) advisor, about what students are accomplishing in DI, and you will be in awe of how bright the future looks in PDY, said PDY superintendent Ted Haselman.
DestiNation Imagination is one of the world’s largest creative and long-term problemsolving programs with a STEM focus for school-age youth of all ages. Formerly Odyssey of the Mind, DI asks students in kindergarten through grade 12 to use their imaginations and take unique approaches to problem-solving using principles of science, engineering, and mathematics.
Each year, PDY students form teams of 2-7 members and select a challenge topic from a list. Students then spend from October through February creating a solution to present at the Regional Tournament.
PDY students in kindergarten through grade 2 participate in the Early Learning/Rising Stars Challenge to save the day by learning about machines, building an invention, and creating a play to tell the story about how the new invention helps save the day. PDY students in grades 3-12 choose one of six team challenges from the following categories: engineering challenge, technical challenge, fine arts, scientific challenge, service learning/project outreach, and improvisation.
At a tournament, each team will also receive an Instant Challenge and the materials with which to solve it. In the Instant Challenge, teams must think on the spot and apply the skills necessary to create a solution in a 5-8 minute period. Appraisers rate the teams on each of their performances. Teams who score highly enough will move on to the next phase of competition. This year, PDY had eight teams score high enough at Regionals to compete at the State Tournament in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, on April 8. Three PDY state teams earned high enough overall ratings to earn a spot at the Global Finals in Knoxville, Tenn. next month.
An example of one community outreach challenge selected by a PDY elementary team this year was to help the PDY community become more aware of the challenges faced by individuals diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. One part of the team’s solution was to host a dodgeball fundraiser called “Knockout Diabetes Dodgeball Tournament,” which included planning the event, soliciting prizes from area businesses through phone calls and personal visits, and enlisting help to run the tournament. All proceeds went to Diabetes Youth Services.
In addition, this team presented a skit at a board meeting and held a training for district staff to build awareness of Type 1 Diabetes. All of these challenge activities (and more) were planned and hosted by the students along with the assistance of a team manager.
Participation in DestiNation Imagination requires students to think critically, work together as a team, and successfully accomplish the task the team selects as a challenge. Our DI teams can be seen hard at work every day after school and often on weekends, with Ms. Foor right alongside, said Haselman. This year, PDY had 14 teams participate in the program – that is over 80 PDY students in kindergarten through grade 12.
When asked about her favorite aspect of the program, Ms. Foor stated, “Sometimes we don’t give kids enough credit for what they’re able to do. One thing I absolutely love is to see a child grow in confidence and the ability to solve problems.”
Students are building structures, researching environmental issues, and teaching adults about the nature of Type 1 Diabetes – all before they graduate from high school.
The three teams preparing for Global Finals in Knoxville are currently looking for sponsors to help offset the cost of attending. If you are interested in making a donation or sponsoring a team, please contact Jane Foor at Delta Middle School at (419) 822-9118.