MORRISTOWN, NJ - Unity Charter School middle school students recently won a regional STEM competition, that was part of the Destination Imagination Program.  Destination Imagination develops opportunities that inspire the global community of learners to utilize diverse approaches in applying 21st-century skills and creativity. 

The Destination Imagination program 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. Unity students chose the Technical Challenge. 

The Technical Challenge prompts students to complete tasks by using engineering, research, strategic planning and related skills.  Students did this by presenting a show that included an opening act and a headlining act.  They designed and built a stage on which the acts took place. The stage also had to move a team member from one location to another. There were two teams that competed and they both won.

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What makes the Destination Imagination challenge different than others is that competition is completely self-guided by the students.  This requires a bit of self-motivation. Teachers and other adults are unable to assist or facilitate.  Nonetheless, students committed their time to their projects in class, after school, and on Saturdays to work together designing stages, writing scripts for plays, developing moving parts, in order to meet the elements of the challenge. The students put in more than 70 hours of work into this challenge.

Throughout the process, students learned patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem-solving process.

“This was an unexpected success for us, given it was the first time we have participated in a program of this nature and magnitude. As a school, we are proud of our students and this incredible success.  Everyone is excited about the global competition in Knoxville, TN, said Jillianne Steelman, Director of Curriculum and Instruction.  

To find out more information about the challenge please visit:

To support our teams please visit: