Teams from Berlin Intermediate School and Worcester Preparatory School competed in the Destination Imagination (DI) Maryland Eastern Region Tournament Saturday. The Berlin Intermediate team and the two teams from Worcester Prep both qualified for the Maryland State Destination Imagination Tournament March 28.
“It’s really helping kids that want to express themselves creatively and solve problems,” said teacher Sarah Lovell, advisor of the Berlin Intermediate team. “It also helps with critical thinking. The kids have total ownership over what they’re doing.”
At Berlin Intermediate, Lovell and the seven members of the school’s DI team have been working since October to come up with an invention and related skit to compete in the “The Big Fix” technical challenge. Lovell said that there were seven categories at the DI competition and that her students had wanted to create an invention so went with the technical challenge.
“They were trying to think of how they could help people,” she said.
The students settled on building a product that would help make life easier for people with limited mobility. After months of work, they showcased the “Flippy 3000” at Saturday’s competition at Salisbury Middle School. The accompanying skit allowed students to demonstrate how their invention, a spatula that turns itself, could help elderly people who had trouble rotating their wrist.
Students said their time in the DI program, which was offered through Berlin Intermediate’s after-school academy, had been fun and educational.
“This’ll help us if we need to build anything in the future,” fourth-grader Delaney Gerhart said.
Classmate Elizabeth Lovell said she felt there was a huge local focus on sports and was happy to have the chance to participate in a program that wasn’t athletic.
“I liked how we could all work on problem solving,” she said.
Others said the program had encouraged them to open up and meet new people.
“If you don’t know what it is, try it,” Caroline Cathell said.
At Worcester Prep, students have also been working on their DI projects since the fall. Advisors Keith Geiger—who introduced the school to DI last year—and Allison Bescak supervised a team of sixth graders as well as a seventh/eighth grade team. The younger students, participating in the “First Encounter” scientific challenge, were tasked with putting a species — a camel — in a new habitat — a rainforest — and then had to act out that encounter in a skit.
“They had to perfect a script and adhere to the challenge guidelines,” Bescak said. “It was interesting to watch young minds work together.”
The other Worcester Prep team, whose members took part in DI last year, jumped quickly into the “Picture This” fine art challenge. Bescak said they had to choose a random picture and replicate it and put a story behind it.
“These kids were able to shine instantly,” she said.
She credited the Destination Imagination program with inspiring creativity in children.
“Sometimes it gets stunted,” she said, adding that there were so many distractions in today’s society. “They lose that creative touch. It’s nice to watch this program encourage that.”