Destination Imagination (DI) is the world’s largest creativity and problem solving competition, that takes place the third week of May, in Knoxville, Tennessee. This week is known as Global Finals.   

    DI is made up of two components: the Central Challenge and the Instant Challenge. Each year, six central challenges are issued, combining in varying degrees the following six themes: technical design, fine arts, scientific research, improvisation, structural design, and service learning. Prior to the competition date, each team prepares their central challenge in the category they chose. In addition to the major components of the central challenges, teams are able to highlight their unique talents and skills through marked components called Team Choice Elements, which allow the team to create, perform or design anything they desire.

    Unlike the central challenge that is prepared prior to the competition, the instant challenge is given to the team during a short time frame at the tournament. The instant challenge tests the ability of teams to think on their feet and create quick solutions to problems, using teamwork, and problem-solving techniques practiced when preparing for the competition. 


    In 2015, My team and I took part in the DI Global Finals, participating in the Technical challenge as well as the Structural challenge. 


    technical challenge

    In the technical challenge we were asked to design and build a Creature that uses technical methods to perform specific team-selected Creature Actions. The three Creature Actions had to be selected from the following categories: moving, communicating, eating, building, or team-defined. We had to create and present a Story of Adventure that had the Creature as a character and was set in a world portrayed by the team. We had to use technical methods to demonstrate features of the world during the presentation.

    Structural Challenge

    Structural challenge

    In the structural challenge we were asked to build a structure made entirely from wood, playing cards, glue, and/or adhesive tape. We also had to design and build a single removal device to be used at the tournament to remove pieces from the structure, while it was supporting the weight of a pressure board. We were scored by the initial weight of the structure and the weight removed ratio (which was the total weight removed divided by the initial structure weight). The structure needed to be used as part of a story about transformation. 


    My team and I designed a solution that could be applied to both challenges. For the technical challenge, the world was a giant cuckoo clock, and the creature was a cuckoo bird living inside the clock. For the structural challenge we used the same set and the story of transformation was about the clock coming to life. 

    The set comprised of a giant 14' x 10' cuckoo clock with a rotating anthropomorphic cardboard clock face, cardboard wood panelling, 9 gold painted gears that rotated, and a German-inspired trussed roof. 

    The golden cuckoo bird flapped its wings as it moved around the set through the use of a crane and winch. The bird was attached to a giant wench that allowed it to touch a metallic switch that completed a circuit and flipped the clock's switch from good to evil, as part of the story. The bird also used a refined system of five buzzers, tuned with potentiometers, to communicate with the clock and the cat, which was a character in the story. 

    To catch the cat, the bird set a Rube Goldberg machine consisting of a large crank, operated by the clock with launched a bright florescent green shoes (10ft in the air) to hit a birdcage off its ledge and onto the cat. 


    My team and I spent two weeks constructing our giant cuckoo clock and the bird:



    We were glad to win first place, in the technical challenge, the structural challenge, and the instant challenge, in the university level, at Global Finals 2015!!!

    MY TEAM 

    In the picture above, from left to right: 

    • Valerie Brown
    • Parastoo Abtahi 
    • Connor Lawless

    Two other team members that could not make it to the Global Finals: 

    • Michael Bazzocchi
    • Nicole Bazzocchi

    After finishing the competition we used the wood panels on the cuckoo clock that were made out of cardboard, to decorate our storage room at U of T!