A team of fifth-graders has qualified for the Global Finals of the Destination Imagination team, says the proud dad of one of its members.
According to Jonathan Lyons, seven students worked hard all year to score high enough in the Eastern Regional to advance to the state tournament.
They went on to the Global Finals.
“It’s pretty amazing,” said Lyons, because only two teams from New York state in each division actually get to go.
Destination Imagination is an educational, non-profit organization that, Lyons said, “fosters students empowerment through hands-on, collaborative, project-based challenges.”
There are six “challengers” and each DI team picks one category from the list.
According to Lyons, all elements of the challenge are researched, created, engineered, and performed entirely by the students.
Team managers and parents can help them learn the skills they need in order to accomplish their goals.
The Tough Tuskers have learned how to sew, code, solder, operate various power tools, apply mathematical concepts like “pi” and the Pythagorean theorem to building, create character arcs and story structures, and be “engaging performers.”
All “ideas and work must come from the kids,” Lyons said.
The Lyons’ 10-year-old son, Roan, said he’s super excited about the competition, which is being held in Kansas City.
His mom, Cameron, one of two DI team managers, said getting chosen for the tourney is “a really big honor.”
The kids have been working since last fall, but really got “fired up” motivation-wise after learning they were going to the Globals.
They started their own email group and have been generating ideas about how they can improve their project, she said.
The other manager is parent Xiaofei Fan.
Teams compete in an “instant challenge” on the day of competition.
According to Lyons, both of these challenges require “innovation, patience, perseverance, creativity, teamwork, and collaboration.”
The “Tough Tuskers” chose engineering as their challenge.
This year, it’s called “Monster Effects,” Lyons said.
The team has to design and build a structure that is between 7.5 and 9 inches tall. It has to weigh less than 150 grams, or 5.2 ounces, and hold hundreds of pounds of weight.
The team must also engineer a special effect that is automatically triggered when weight is added to their structure and, most importantly, “enhances the sudden appearance of a monster.”
They have only eight minutes to do all of this and the performance “must be engaging to watch,” Lyons said.
More than 8,000 students from 15 countries are expected to participate in the global challenge, Lyons said.
But it’s not all work and no play. Participants will be able to take part in other activities such as a costume and dance party, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) workshops, and live music.
They will also be able to “make connections” with students from all over the world, Lyons said.
This wonderful opportunity to showcase Somers students’ talents does not come for free.
“Going to the Globals is ridiculously expensive,” Lyons said.
The team’s registration fee is $5,500.
And that doesn’t, he said, cover the cost of travel, food, and lodging for the team and its managers.
“For some families, this is going to be an impossible amount to cover without some financial support,” Lyons said.
The tournament takes place between May 22-26.
The team has launched a GoFundMe page and is working on a raffle, and other fundraisers, to cover the costs, Lyons said.
To help out, visit https://www.gofundme.com/somers-destination-imagination-global-finals