We had a busy but exciting weekend, with the Destination Imagination state tournament and the National History Day district competition both this Saturday. My high school team, which competes in both competitions, split up into two factions and tackled their challenges.
Destination Imagination, a theater-based competition that stresses teamwork and problem solving, requires teams to choose from five annual “Challenges” or sets of rules they must adhere to while creating their skits. Eager to push themselves even more, my high school team, Team I.C.E. (Imagine. Create. Empower.) took on two challenges for the 2011-12 season: a rare feat. For each challenge they were required to present a skit and do a top-secret “Instant Challenge” that wasn’t revealed to them until just before they began. Instant Challenges can range from building a tower to performing a skit—Shhhh, we can’t tell you what it was until after the competition season.
With two main Central Challenges and two Instant Challenges, the team had a lot to do at the tournament. Their first challenge was “News to Me:” an improvisational challenge. The team researched six articles in advance. At the tournament, one of their articles was selected. This article was “Hunger Games: Importance for our Generation.” (The team had gone to the midnight premiere and read all the books, so they were prepared.) Team I.C.E. was also presented with a headline for a news story they hadn’t researched: “Nice Wheels: Student Invents Motorized Couch.” The challenge was to make up a story about how one news event caused the other to occur. The team had four minutes to decide that the students invented the motorized couch to get to the Hunger Games, because they were too young to drive a car.
But the challenge didn’t stop there. Extra! Extra! This just in! The team had an additional one minute after their four minute set up time to decide how to incorporate an unexpected “One Minute Glitch: OMG!” Their glitch: all skit characters are on a reality TV show. The team appropriately added drama, and a cameraman, to their skit.
Time to perform! And don’t forget that human scenery!
A machine for analyzing news data
And a boat (with a built-in radio, of course, so the team could sing an original song.)
The judges were impressed with their teamwork, and Team I.C.E. did very well—and had a ton of fun.
After that, it was time for the team to present their prepared skit for their second challenge, “Coming Attractions.” For this challenge, they had all season to create an original four-minute skit (with just one-minute set up time) in the style of a movie trailer, incorporating the cultures of two different nations, an original soundtrack and a special effect. The team studied France and Japan, and incorporated the cultures by creating a giant pointillism painting (pointillism is a form of French art) and folding 1000 origami cranes (in keeping with the Japanese tradition that completing this task earns the folder one wish.) Their skit also included “Can Can” dancers, made from cans, of course, a mime, a haiku performed in Japanese, and original songs. The team used personification of abstract ideas to express how understanding other cultures conquers fear of them, and their special effect was a hot air balloon that lifted their hero, Willy Makeit, into the air.
Their dress rehearsal…
…and their performance for the judges.
Uh oh! Their backdrop had some technical difficulties. The team fixed the problem quickly and went on with their skit, scoring very highly regardless of the issue.
Team I.C.E. won first place in both challenges, and will be advancing to the Global Finals in Knoxville Tennessee in May! They have tons of work to do to polish up their skits and raise money for their trip, but they are really excited.
And what about National History Day? The team earned first place for their website “All’s Faire in Laissez-Faire: The Industrial Revolution and Social Reform.” The website addressed the annual topic: “Revolution, Reaction and Reform in History.” In addition to preparing a website and doing tons of primary source research by visiting historians and private collections, they also had to document it in an extensive (ultimately 81 page long) annotated bibliography. They will be advancing to states!
Here’s their website:
And a link to their “News to Me” improv performance:
It was a great day overall. Go team!
Let Me Count the Days: Homeschooling is Learning Through Competition
Filed under: Contests, Current Events, Geography, History, Theater, World Awareness Tagged: | Destination Imagination, homeschool, homeschooling, improvisation, industrial revolution, national history day, school competitions, theater challenge