District students advance to DI state

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A team comprised of MHS and Glacier Creek students took first place in their team challenges at the Destination Imagination regional meet in Hilbert on March 9 and qualified for the state tournament at UW-Green Bay on April 13.

The team, 'just Do It' is made up of Glacier Creek seventh-graders Corbin Slinde, Eric Ma, and Gia Shah along with MHS sophomores Arber Jonuzi, Calvin Slinde, Sohail Shaik, and Sunny Boya. Derren Slinde is team manager. 

The team also scored an all-time high on their instant challenge with a raw score of 99.5 out of 100. There were 44 teams that competed at the regional tournament.

The team chose the Scientific 'Medical Mystery' Challenge, which is one of six open-ended challenges that require students to apply science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), in addition to improvisation, theater arts, writing, project management, communication, innovation, teamwork and community service. The requirements of this year's challenge are to research the human body and medical conditions, create and present a story about a medical mystery that affects a human character, design and build a 'Sympt-O-Matic' (a physical representation of the anatomy experiencing the medical mystery and the effect of at least one symptom on the anatomy), and present part of the story in double vision (showing two or more perspectives at the same time). Two 'team choice elements' are required as well that showcase the team's interests, strengths, and talents.

The team's story is about a time traveler's journey, with his faithful robotic companion K9, of self-discovery and coming to the understanding that it's not what happens to you ... but how you react to what happens to you ... that really matters. The time traveler, Dr. How, is grappling with increasingly frequent episodes of loss of depth perception and color vision. After a thorough evaluation by his robotic physician it is determined Dr. How suffers from derealization disorder. Derealization disorder can be caused by severe emotional trauma, which upon further reflection, Dr. How recalls an incident when he was 10 years old and was visited by a terrifying otherworldly creature. Dr. How travels back in time to visit his favorite painter, Van Gogh, only to realize that he too suffers from the same medical condition. The story ends with a surprising twist.

The 'double vision' scene occurs at Van Gogh's art studio whereby both the observer's point of view (3rd person) as well as Dr. How's point of view (1st person) are presented. This is accomplished through specific staging and blocking and the use of a novel mechanism to produce a dramatic colorless, two-dimensional effect.  The 'Sympt-O-Matic' reveals P.E.T. scan slices of the brain revealing abnormal metabolic activity in the dorsal region of the right temporal lobe. It operates using three main scientific concepts: computer science (programming with Arduino micro-controllers and EV3), physics (potential energy & pulley), and electricity (LED lights). Team choice elements were the mini-time travel machine narration light box and robotic assistant K9.

The final competitive element at tournaments is the 'Instant Challenge'. Team members are presented a challenge, oftentimes with materials, that they must solve in a short period of time (usually 5 minutes). Teams are required to engage in quick, creative and critical thinking. Appraisers assess the team's performance on the team challenge (including the 'team choice elements') and instant challenge to determine awards and placement at Global Finals.

Destination Imagination (DI) is a non-profit organization with more than one million students having taking part in its acclaimed academic program. This year, more than 150,000 students from around the world discover their creativity and develop lifelong critical thinking and collaborative problem solving skills. The United States and 30 countries, including China, Korea, Singapore, Japan and India, are using the program to support existing curriculum by teaching participants skills that give them a competitive edge in the future workforce and in life.

Through its challenge-based learning program, students from the kindergarten to university level develop time management, collaboration, conflict resolution, as well as creative and critical thinking skills. Student teams solve open-ended challenges and present their solutions at tournaments. Participants in turn build lifelong confidence in working together to solve any challenge.

For more information, please visit the Destination Imagination website.