Great minds came together at the recent Destination Imagination (DI) Competition on Feb. 22. The Maple Grove Junior High School eight grade team, “Sometime Ironic,” took first place in the Middle Level Improv Category. The team has won this category two years in a row now.
The team members of “Something Ironic” are: Nika Khadem, Kyra Kjeldahl, Ethan Donaldson, Emilia Biason, Sam Irvin, Abby Gust, Damini Gupta. The team is managed by Julie Donaldson, Krista Biason and Rachel Johnson.
The Mission of DI is: “To develop opportunities that inspire the global community of learners to utilize diverse approaches in applying 21st century skills and creativity. 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. Our participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process. Teams may showcase their solutions at a tournament.”
DI has five basic challenge categories. The challenge the MGJH team competed in is Challenge D: Improvisational. The challenge category is the same each year, but the specific criteria of each challenge changes. This year the topic was “Pandemonium.” The MGJH team had to select and research six different time periods and choose an occupation for each time period. They also were required to master six makeup styles ranging from Monster to Kabuki. They had to use the selected time period, makeup style and a contemporary character to resolve the “Pandemonium.”
The process for the MGJH team’s competition was that they were provided with the specific time period, makeup style and pandemonium at the tournament, they did not know which one would be selected until right before their competition. The team was given four minutes to create a skit with a beginning, middle and end that resolves the pandemonium and exemplify the skills and tools their main characters would have used while incorporating facts to show their research. After the four minutes the team was provided with their contemporary character and was given one additional minute to create their skit. The MGJH team then had five minutes to present their skit to the judges and audience and resolve the pandemonium.
In addition to the team challenge, “Something Ironic” also compete in an “Instant Challenge” which could be either a performance-based, task-based or a hybrid of the two. It requires the team to engage in quick and creative thinking. The team signs a confidentiality agreement that they cannot share what the challenge was with anyone since it is the same challenge for all of the competitions around the state. Once globals are completed the MGJH team can share the information about the challenge. The instant challenge is 25 percent of their total score and their team challenge is 75 percent of their total score.
This year “Something Ironic” blew its competition out of the water with both their team challenge performance and the instant challenge and scored first on both challenges.
This is their fourth year “Something Ironic” has competed together as the core team of kids.
Their next steps are competing at the State tournament in Champlin on April 12 with hopes to be able to compete in the Global Finals in May in Knoxville, Tenn.