Destination Imagination team

Destination Imagination team

Chilliwack students set course for Destination Imagination

A team from East Chilliwack Elementary School is heading to Tennessee for the global finals of Destination Imagination's Challenge program.

An instant challenge to build a bridge out of straws, aluminum foil, and a plastic container in order to join two chairs in the school principal’s office excited a flurry of activity, serious deliberations, and single-minded teamwork.

The “Crazy Cheeseheads” team of Grade 3 and 4 boys from East Chilliwack Elementary School are heading to Tennessee, U.S., in May to compete in the global finals of Destination Imagination’s Challenge program, a competitive educational program in which student teams solve assigned tasks.

During a practice challenge at school on Tuesday, Landon Johnston, Josiah Hansen, Miles Rose, Hayden Dahlby, and Riley Zacharias had one minute to plan the bridge, and four minutes to execute — all carefully timed by Landon’s mom and team coach, Nicole Johnston.

“I think we can use these to connect to stuff and put stuff over it,” said Hayden, pointing to the plastic straws.

“Then we can make an arch,” added Miles.

Hayden said that would get them extra creativity points.

Although the resultant formation of straws taped between chairs might not look like much, the nine- and ten-year-old boys were tremendously proud of their creation, and elated through the process.

“It takes them out of classroom learning and into real, creative group work,” explained Miles’ mom Anne Russell of the program.

A 2011 University of Virginia study found that DI students scored higher in creative thinking, critical thinking and collaborative problem solving than their non-DI counterparts.

The global finals draw over 1,100 teams from 13 countries, and 15,000 attendees. That’s out of 125,000 program participants globally.

Students prepare for global finals for Destination Imagination's Challenge programIn Tennessee, the Crazy Cheeseheads will have to solve two challenges. The first will have participants creating and acting out a story about how they would adapt in a hypothetical world reality, such as “there is no gravity.” The second is usually a more physical challenge, such as using clay to create a 3-D map.

While it may seem confusing to adults, the kids understand the challenges perfectly, and revel in the absolute creativity of solving a task outside of rules and boundaries. The program teaches teamwork, and creativity, and problem-solving.

“It’s such a great creative outlet for them,” said Nicole. “The whole movement in schools right now is moving towards collaborative thinking. Putting people in groups, and working together.”

Destination Imagination’s global success isn’t surprising to the five boys from East Chilliwack.

“You get to expand your mind, be silly with it, be creative,” said Josiah.

For Riley, the draw is the improvisation.

“I love acting,” he said. “I’ve been in plenty of plays. That’s pretty much why I love D.I.”

You win at globals “by using lots of enthusiasm and not fighting,” explained Riley, who is the only boy unable to attend globals because of a simultaneous family vacation. “It’s improv, you can’t fight. Sometimes you don’t know what people are thinking, you have to play along.”

For Landon, a bonus was overcoming his fear of being in front of an audience.

The team is fundraising for the trip, with a goal to raise about $7,000 before the global competition on May 22–25 in Knoxville, TN. They’ll be selling raffle tickets at Cottonwood Mall on May 17, 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the Sutton kiosk. The day after, they’ll hold a car wash and hot dog BBQ at Sutton Group (9240 Young Road), where coach Nicole works. And team sponsors will receive their logo in a “Thank You” ad in The Progress in May.

For more information about the program or to sponsor, contact Nicole Johnston at 604-793-7686.

Just Posted

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

RCMP investigating June 15, 2021 crash. (Black Press file)
Chilliwack RCMP say crash into median led to impaired driver investigation

Chrysler 300 driver allegedly collided with tree on Spadina median in June 15 incident

Abbotsford council has given permission for Chilliwack to use the JAMES wastewater treatment plant for the disposal of trucked liquid waste until the end of September.
Chilliwack gets exemption to Abbotsford bylaw prohibiting liquid waste from other cities

Process in place until September while new facility under construction in Chilliwack

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

Sarah Sache and her 11-year-old son Winston at their home, West River Farm, in Chilliwack on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Fraser Valley agriculture community offers big support for autism

Chilliwack dairy farmers, the Sache family, sing praises of Steve Saccomano’s charitable work

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogen’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Camper van explosion burns Vancouver Island gas station to the ground

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Most Read