Recently, all of the PLP students in grade eight and nine participated in the Destination Imagination Regional Tournament for Greater Vancouver. There were many things that went well with the event and my group’s presentation, and many that didn’t. I am here today to reflect on those things.
I’ll start this post off by briefly explaining what Destination Imagination is. Destination Imagination is an international competition in which students from different grade levels compete in a challenge to see who can get the most points and be the most creative. This year I was put in the engineering challenge. For this challenge the goal was to make a bridge, using just cards and duct tape as the materials, that could carry weight over a barrier. In my group to complete this challenge, were Thomas, Ciara, Felix and Gabe.
The story we came up with for our presentation, was that some explorers got trapped in a cave while looking for something. They then find some miners. The miners will supposedly “help them get out”, but actually bring them to a lost city. On the way, the explorers find a gem, and carry it with then to the city. They then find the city, and use the gem to turn its power on, which leads to the mayor being really happy and singing a song.
For our bridge, we decided that building triangles would be the most effective method. We bent three cards in half and fitted them together into a solid triangle. After that we put three of the triangles together to form a larger piece. We then put three of the larger pieces together, to make one long piece that would be used in the final bridge. We connected those final pieces, with mini triangles made with the same method as the original ones. This was quite difficult, since each piece of the bridge had to weigh under 75 grams, and had to be under 18 inches long, wide or tall.
Another element of the challenge was a technical method to move our weight across our bridge. For this, we created two separate platforms that would house parts, and then they would have a string that went between the sides to carry the weight across the bridge like a gondola. The technical system we used was a remote controlled motor system. I built this system by getting a DC motor and connecting it to a battery pack. I then put a remote activated relay between the two, and then added batteries to that as well. I then stuck it in a styrofoam block to keep it all together, easy to fix, and easy to attach to our towers.
When it comes to our actual presentation day, it didn’t go so great. My group did well with improvising our script but our bridge had a couple components that wouldn’t fit together and that took the whole project down. After the components were weighed, some of our bridge connectors, which were used to connect the towers on the sides and the bridge deck, got bent out of place. This made it so the bridge couldn’t stand up, and just fell because the weight was unbalanced from how we had to connect the pieces. There wasn’t much else we could have done to prevent that, since the damage to our bridge structure happened at a time where we could no longer fix it.
One thing that did go great on our presentation day, was our instant challenge. I’m not really allowed to say much about it, but my group was able to come up with a creative and funny solution to what we were asked to do. We ended up winning first place for the instant challenge.
The competency being assessed for this challenge is the “Research and Understand” competency. I believe that I have shown my understanding of this competency, by showing my group’s bridge building and technical solutions. I believe that they represent this because of all of the research and testing that went into finding the best solution to the problem. There were also many different perspectives and ideas that we had to chose the best one of. We also had to do research for every other challenge element, by doing stuff like reading the challenge guide and looking for things to get ideas from.
In the end, we were able to win first place despite the problems we faced, which I think we earned because of all the work we put into our presentation, even though it didn’t work. Sadly the Provincial Tournament is canceled due to Covid-19 though, so we can’t fix and showcase our bridge design.