Hello again! (probably), welcome to what I think is a very special blog post. DI or Destination Imagination is a global organization that challenges students to work in groups to complete a few challenges. Since DI is not hosted by Seycove, the system we worked was very different and proposed new ways of working, I feel like I say my all blog posts are usually long and this one is no exception.
What is DI some you are asking? DI is a non-profit organization set in New Jersey aimed to teach kids “21 century life skills” through competitions using skills that school would usually not teach. DI is also very strict with their rules, we cannot talk to other teams about our plans for DI and we cannot get help from teachers or parents. DI also does not judge your work, they appraise it. Judges try to take away points by finding mistakes, appraisers try to give points by what you’ve done.
The DI committee has 4 groups that they put us into. The Scientific, the Engineering, the Technical, and the Fine Arts groups, there were also 2 of each group. Each group had 2 challenges as the end goal: the Instant Challenge, and the Team Challenge. The team challenge was something specific to each group, having to create a story with certain requirements. However because if COVID we had to create a video to send to the DI appraisers. This means we can practice a lot more and re-record our scenes as many times as we need, much easier.
Since I was in the engineering group, my team challenge had to tell a story to show how opposites are complimentary. Since we were engineers we also had to create a model of our building with 1 visual art style (visual style refers to the aesthetics of the building) 1 architectural (architectural style refers to the way the building is built and shaped) as well as 2 style features (Basketball Court, Theatre, Cafe, Lounge).
Our visual art style was Renaissance, our architectural style was Post-Modernism, and our 4 style features were the colour scheme, the flooring, the lighting, and the miniatures.
The rules for the instant challenge however, was pretty similar for all the teams. The instant challenge, was all about quick thinking. The group who consists of Me, Max, Mateo, Samuel, Gwen, Ines, and Faith were given a form telling us the requirements for the instant challenge.
We had 2 days to prepare a story that involved everyone and to meet some requirements. I cannot say what we actually did for the instant challenge but it was really fun to participate in.
Everything we do in DI matters for scores, but I believe the team challenge i mentioned earlier is what we spent the most time on and what the biggest responsibility. Our video couldn’t be longer than 5 minutes, had to show our model in it, a planning artifact (), and show 2 team choice elements. Team choice elements is where we get to have creativity in what we put in our video. We chose to include multilingualism since Mateo speaks Spanish, and Miniatures which are really small detailed models of real life objects like chairs and tables. Another crucial part we had to do right was the challenge elements, challenge elements are things that make the most points and are the baseline of what is needed. In our video we had to include a moment of split screen, the team choice elements, the model of the building, and the story
Now that you have a little inside on what DI is, what our main goals were, a few details on what to expect, now it’s time to show you all our work. The first thing we worked on was getting a name, we had a few, pretty strange ideas at first. But by the end we came up with a less strange of Mechanized Mechanical Mechanics (MMM).
Now we have the hardest part out the way it’s time to figure out what our group can accomplish together and who can lead different aspects of this project. After filling out a quick form we learned that MMM is a very visual, physical and like to talk a lot. So we remembered to incorporate those elements into our video.
When it comes to figuring out “who can lead costumes” “who can lead recording” we had another form to fill out. Gwen & Ines lead costumes, Mateo & Faith lead technical elements, Max & Samuel lead the tasked based instant challenges, and I lead the performance based team challenges, all the other things like creating characters, story and models was done as a team. This was very important to figure our because now we can work twice as effectively.
Now we’re getting to the point in the project where we have to really work with hard deadlines. Our groups plan was to split up and work on multiple things, then meet up before class ends and revise as a group. Me & Max focused on the story, creating characters, making sure it met requirements, using the story mountain to maintain a flow. Everyone else worked on the model of the building, figuring out “what is renaissance?” “what is post-modernism?” “how can we make the model?”. After doing this for multiple days, working outside of school on calls rehearsing we finally had a final story. The model, and costumes needed work.
Luckily this is when Ines & Gwen came in to really pull though. Gwen has experience building like this & we knew that since she came up with the ideas for the miniatures & had a ton of free materials we could use. With our model planned, and a time to meet, we met up a pro day at 8AM & got to work.
We were very productive that day and got the bulk of the work done, however we reached a point where we decided to stop. Thankfully Gwen took on the task of finishing the model by painting it and adding decoration since she has done projects like this before. This was a team building moment because since we were on our own we forced ourselves to work and showed to each other that we can finish this project.
Now we have a fully finished model and script, model, and we know where we had to film. It was all about practice the next couple of days. We did pretty well and everyone knew their lines, besides if we messed up we can always re-film. The first day we actually tried to film outside it rained so we went inside and did all of our inside scenes.
We had a few primary filming places, the vortex theatre, outside, and the library. After a very time crunched afternoon we got all of our inside shots done, yay! However since the school day ended we decided to meet up on the weekend to film outside shots. After what felt like a very short recording, the group was done. Now all we needed were Max’s alone shots, and Gwen and I’s duo shots. So the 3 of us got to work and finished with time to spare.
Just before the team split up that day we made plans, “this time we work on this” “we will split up to do these things” as to maximize our efficiency. But the next day we got our Instant Challenge. Over the 5 weeks we worked on DI we were given mock instant challenges to understand what the final one would actually be. I cannot talk much about what the instant challenges were about. However after given a time to get on Zoom and 2 days to prepare our team shifted priority to that. We managed to figure out what we would present in one sitting and I personally felt very confident about it. I was right to think that because we didn’t mess up majorly whatsoever.
Now our team shifted focus back to our original plan, Max, Mateo, and Faith went outside to film a Q&A video for the DI committee in case they had any questions. Ines & I worked on finalizing any documents we had forgotten about, making sure we wouldn’t be disqualified. Gwen and Samuel worked on getting shots of our model to incorporate into the video. It was a very tight squeeze but we managed to finish everything to give to our teacher to give to the DI committee.
DI taught me many new things, and helped me improve on skills I still needed to develop. Team work was such a huge part of this project there were so many places that our group improved, like scheduling meetings, and getting times to film. I think you’ll see a difference in us working in teams. Another skill I’m glad I developed was being able to express stories and different relationships through strange requirements, it’s not something I would normally make and I’m very glad I got that opportunity.
We’re done! That was the 2021 Covid modified DI experience! I want to thank our whole team for being able to make what we made, and especially thank you to Max for doing all the video work for the Challenge Video, it definitely would not be what it is without you. DI taught me a lot about independence, how to use iMovie, and how to lead a group when needed. All very important life skills, thank you for reading i’ll possibly see you some other time.