Thank you to all of our amazing teams and wonderful Team Managers that participated in the 2013-14 Challenge program! This past season, nearly 8,000 students competed in Global Finals. Thanks to some of our top-placing Global Finals teams and Team Managers, you can read about the Challenge solutions that helped them take top honors at the international tournament.
Team “We’re Not a This, We’re a That” competed against 77 other teams. For their Presentation, the team created a story about Darth Vader capturing a powerful Jedi Knight (Old MacDonald) and searching for Princess Lei Cow and Obi Wan Snake Obi so he could use their magical powers to defeat the rebels. Jedi mind tricks didn't work, so Darth Vader brought in Functional Mr. I (the technology that detects things a human cannot sense without help) to scan Old MacDonald's brain for thoughts.
For the structural part of the Challenge, the team used an electrical circuit and had wires sticking out of each papier-mâché brain (the containers). Batteries were attached to the 10 brains whose numbers were selected (they were inside), and then used a team-created detector that was built with wood, 2 bolts and a 5-volt battery tester. They touched the bolts to the wires and if the volt meter lit up, they knew there was a battery inside.
Going to Extremes
Team Infinity Divided by Zero competed against 89 teams in their Going to Extremes Challenge, and used corn as a central theme of their Presentation. They used all parts of the plant to make props, cornstalks to build the frame of the set and corn silk to make a puppet. The creative use of materials extended to the puppet character as it was covered in fabric that was made of fused plastic bags. They used rhyme and music as the story arc that included accordion, flute and clarinet. The music was well integrated and helped the flow of the Presentation. The main environmental depiction was made using corn husks in the style of Joyce Crains series "From Above," which is featured in the halls of the Knoxville Convention Center. The whole experience was immersive and seamless.
Laugh Art Loud
Team Warning: High Voltage had an outstanding performance filled with endless humor, creativity and the wow factor! The team based their humorous "western" story about a work of art of two horses, one black and one white, by Sayaka Ganz. Their artifact, a horse torso and legs, was meticulously constructed out of thousands of plastic utensils and chicken wire and was the source of all the crazy humor in the story. The good smellin' cowboy, the Cologne Ranger, came into the "Purdy West" town looking for a new horse but instead got kicked out after blasting all the 'purdy' cacti to smithereens which were made out of recycled bottles that wilted. Plastic spoons were used throughout the set to make cowboy hats, a skirt, saloon doors and a full blown black/white horse costume creatively worn by a team member. The highlight was a cowboy "show" down with a "pose" caption seen by the audience when their cardboard horizontal slats, cork, skewer contraption was elevated by a pulley that turned the slats diagonal revealing the word "pose." The team worked tirelessly and most of all had an exceptional time creating together! All in all, their hard work paid off and the end result was a "Boot Scootin, Rootin' Tootin, downright High Falootin" story!
For their Challenge, the team selected a suit of armor by Jacob Halder, which inspired them to create a story about a hippie dragon that used his flower power to subdue a dragon slayer. This team's Presentation transported the Appraisers into the depths of a cave through intricately crafted stone walls from paper bags, armor from plastic utensils, and stalactites carved from stacks of cardboard. Their incredibly designed costumes left their eyes as wide as the Manga characters on stage, while a stained glass dragon window served as a portal to the mortal world. The team's multidimensional Presentation and inspirational interpretation of their team-selected artwork ascended to the next level. Employing magnets and recycled iron filings, words magically appeared in the Sorceress's "Book of Spells," the Caption Contraption. To top things off, a 7-foot tall, 10-foot long, peace-loving, flower-breathing dragon constructed from aluminum soda cans dominated the stage.
Team Pandelicious had a total of five minutes to discuss a storyline that involved a blacksmith (Character from the Past) and a dog sitter (Contemporary Character) working together using their occupations and skills to deal with the Pandemonium of the team being attacked by tennis balls. With this, the team had to creatively integrate monster stage make-up into their skit. In addition, the team had to incorporate their research on the time period, occupation and skills of the Past Character into their skit.
The team used one of the creative problem-solving tools they learned (i.e. SCAMPER) to modify a fairy tale to suit their performance. The skit began with a king who had married an evil stepmother with the face of a monster (monster stage make-up). The king had three sons whom he loved very much. One day, the evil stepmother caused disunity among the three sons to fight over the king’s throne. As a result of their argument, they caused a pandemonium of which the team was attacked by tennis balls. An FBI agent brought the blacksmith (Character from the Past) and dog sitter (Contemporary Character) together to solve the pandemonium instigated by the evil stepmother. The evil stepmother was brought back to the kingdom and the king forgave her in the end.
The team listened to one another and spontaneously came up with a brilliant performance that wowed the judges and audience, truly living out the team’s motto of “The Best is Yet to Be.”
The Tension Builds
Pitch & Play
The Dodging Ducks of Harman Elementary in Oakwood, Ohio, found a need in a nearby school. Students at Ruskin School were unable to go out and enjoy wintertime play because they were lacking the appropriate clothing to keep warm. So, the Dodging Ducks pitched the idea of using one of their favorite types of play to help other students be able to go out and play. They conducted a school-wide dodge ball tournament that became the buzz of the school. They collected entry fees and sold concessions to raise close to $2,000 for the school. The team presented their solution in a Today Show parody and demonstrated their dodge ball tournament with handcrafted, interactive models. They analyzed their effectiveness and brainstormed ways to make this an even bigger and better fundraiser in the future!
The Fuzzy Squirrels, a group of seventh graders from St. Pius X/St. Leo School in Omaha, NE have been competing in DI together for four years. For all but one of those years, they have chosen to solve the projectOUTREACH Challenge. This year, the team chose to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They procured the sponsorship of the Omaha Parks and Recreation Department, which allowed the team to host an ice skating fair at Motto McLean Ice Arena. At the event, called "Skate a Wish," participants skated, played carnival games, and won prizes. Each team member constructed his/her own carnival game, and players paid between $.25-.50 to play each game. The Fuzzy Squirrels were able to raise $850.05 and met their goal of making wishes come true for children at the Make-A-Wish Foundation. For their performance, the Fuzzy Squirrels wrote their own songs and music, made a slideshow presentation, choreographed original dances, and silk-screened their own T-shirts using original team-created artwork. This was the team's fourth year competing together and its second year placing at Global Finals; last year, they finished in second place.
Team FDI consists of four high school students who have been competing together in DI since the 3rd grade. For their community service Challenge this past season, the team started a basketball league for special needs kids at the local YMCA. In the first year, they enrolled one group of 12 special needs players. Due to popular demand, they continued the league on a once-a-month basis for an additional 4 months after the initial season ended. They have already been approved to start a summer league this year to continue the program.
Want to share your team’s story or video? Tell us about your team's Challenge solution in the comments below or share your YouTube link!