Instant Challenge: Inspiring Teams to Think on the Spot

A Destination Imagination team solves an Instant Challenge at Global Finals. Text says, "Instant Challenge: Inspiring Teams on the Spot."

At a Destination Imagination (DI) tournament, teams will solve one Instant Challenge in addition to presenting their Team Challenge solution. However, unlike a Team Challenge, where teams have months to prepare, plan, and create their solution, teams will have just minutes to solve their Instant Challenge.  

Instant Challenge is worth 25% of a team’s overall score at a tournament, and a solid Instant Challenge score can help a team significantly—especially if Team Challenge scores are very close.

Instant Challenges encourage students to work together to develop collaborative problem-solving and time management strategies, as well as performance and improvisational techniques. They also help students learn how to think creatively and to evaluate and use different types of materials in innovative ways.

There are three types of DI Instant Challenges: Performance-Based, Task-Based, and a combination of the two.

The focus of a Performance-Based Instant Challenge is on your team working together to create and perform a theatrically-oriented solution for the Appraisers. Your team may be asked to use words, language, conversation, and/or dramatic characterizations to solve the Challenge, or the solution may be nonverbal. Your team may also be asked to manipulate materials and/or use imaginary props in the solution. In this type of Challenge, you may earn points for specific elements of your performance, the overall creativity of your performance, and/or your use of materials.

The focus of a Task-Based Instant Challenge is on your team working together to move, build, change, and/or protect something in order to complete a task. Your team may also be asked to communicate information. In this type of Challenge, you may earn points for how well team members work together to design the solution, the creativity of the solution, the risk involved in the solution, and/or the team’s success in completing the task.

A Combination Instant Challenge includes both performance- and task-based elements.

Because Instant Challenges are kept confidential at tournaments, it’s important for teams to practice all three types of Instant Challenges throughout the DI season.

All registered DI teams have access to our Instant Challenge Practice set, which is located in the Resource Area. There are also a variety of Instant Challenges included in our Roadmap resource for Team Managers, including a few designed to help new teams get acquainted with the Instant Challenge process. Like our Instant Challenge Practice Set, Roadmap is available for registered teams in our Resource Area. And if you’re searching for even more Instant Challenge-like activities, be sure to check out the STEAM activities section on our blog.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that there is no right or wrong way to solve an Instant Challenge. They are intentionally designed to have multiple solutions, which means your team can do the same Instant Challenge over and over again to come up with new ways to solve it.

Teamwork is essential to solving an Instant Challenge. For some children, this concept can be difficult to master, but sustained practice over time can help them improve this skill dramatically.

A great way to improve your team’s Instant Challenge skills is to get in the habit of practicing at least one Instant Challenge at every team meeting. As the Team Manager, you can save time at your meetings by gathering all the necessary materials, if any, ahead of time and setting up a space for your team to work. You may also want to have your team attempt the Instant Challenge more than once to see how alternate ideas can also work.

Check out our YouTube playlist to see a few Instant Challenges in action.

To learn more about Instant Challenge, read our Rules of the Road resource (located in the Resource Area).

For more helpful tips and Instant Challenge-like activities, be sure to follow us on Facebook, X, and Instagram.

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