Brainstorming Ideas with Your Team

By: Kari Sturch, Educator & Team Manager, Illinois

As a Team Manager, do you ever have trouble getting your team to come up with ideas for their Central Challenge? Brainstorming ideas can become a challenge itself when it comes to trying to get the kids to come up with ideas or examples to use in their solution. Here are some suggestions that I have found successful with my team.

  • First and foremost—make sure they understand the Challenge. Have the team read and reread the Challenge. Make the team explain it in their own words and tell you what their understanding of the Challenge is. Have them break down the sections of their Challenge and dissect it so that they know exactly what they have to do and how it is going to be scored. You may also want them to highlight the most important parts of the Challenge.
  • Have a team notebook and a writer, or take turns having recorders. Have a team member write down ideas that are being discussed. Remember, there are no silly or stupid ideas. Everything should be written down so the team can eliminate or reconsider ideas later. A notebook also helps keep everything in one place. Our team uses the notebook to keep track of script ideas, costume ideas, budget, and the team calendar and practice schedule.
  • Use Post-It© Notes. Kids love Post-It Notes and they’re easy to sort, arrange and group into ideas. Since they stick to almost anything, my teams have used them at the kitchen table, library desks, on ceramic floors, and on glass French doors. It gets the kids moving and they can sequence, group and eliminate ideas quickly and easily.
  • Use large sheets of paper to let the kids draw and write their ideas down, and then save these ideas from week to week. The team will start refining their ideas and develop their sketches into what they want to build or create. At the end of the season, it’s great to see all the drafts that were created throughout the year and how they have formed their finished product.
  • Use electronic devices. With so much technology in the world today, the kids can use their phones, tablets and laptops to research the different aspects of their Challenge. Divide and conquer, split into partners and have them work on different parts. Then take notes and share what they found.
  • Don’t be afraid to assign homework. Practices go fast, but kids can go home and research or brainstorm additional ideas, information, strategies and examples. It’s exciting to come back to the next meeting and share what each team member has discovered.
  • Pull out a snack if practice is starting to fall apart and the ideas are not flowing. Food always gets the kids motivated! We had a sign-up sheet and took turns on bringing healthy snacks to practices. Nutella and apples were a favorite at my house.

I hope these ideas are beneficial to you and your team this DI season. Happy brainstorming! And if all else fails, look into investing in a trampoline. Kids love them, and it’s a mental break for the Team Manager.

Kari Sturch (far right) and her Destination Imagination team.

About the Author: Kari Sturch is a Destination Imagination school sponsor and teacher at Wilson Intermediate School in Pekin, Illinois. She has been a Team Manager for the past three years and loves being a part of DI, where she can see children be creative, think outside the box and have fun all at once.