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Several local DI teams earn honors

By Staff
Mitch Freeman Madison County Record
Some very imaginative students matched wits at Discovery Middle School recently.
Discovery hosted the state Destination ImagiNation (DI) tournament, a creative problem solving and teamwork competition, on April 6. DI teams are given a problem, which they must solve on their own, as a team.
Several local DI teams did well in the tournament. One of the Discovery teams earned first place honors, which advances the team of six to international competition.
DI Global Finals will be held in May at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., where these creative thinkers will compete against DI teams from across the U.S. and foreign countries.
The first-place Discovery team, "Completely trounced their competition in the weight-bearing structure challenge, called ConnecDId," Robin Dauma, enrichment specialist and DI sponsor at Discovery, said.
Dauma said the team members had to build a structure out of wood that did not use any artificial connectors. No wood, no nails, no screws. The structure was required to have five connections and could not weigh more than 50 grams. It had to measure between seven and nine inches tall.
The team's winning solution was a balsa wood structure that weighed only 33 grams, about the weight of an AA-size battery.
It supported 671 pounds, 200 pounds more than their nearest competitor, according to Dauma.
The majority of the challenge score came from the structure's efficiency, determined by the ratio of the weight of the structure compared to how much weight the structure supported.
The first-place Discovery team is made up of eighth-grader Ian Forte, and seventh-graders
Evan Corder, Andrew Zollar, Arik Schwartz, David Cunefare and Adam Gimenez.
The team coaches are Mary Anne Zollar and Andy Schwartz.
Dauma, described other DI challenges.
ViDIo Adventure is a challenge where a video game is brought to life. They made a mechanical device that accomplishes certain tasks on an obstacle course, while the game characters travel to different countries.
A Change in DIrection is a highly technical challenge in which the teams had to use a complicated system of transport and design a contraption that reused parts in several different ways.
Once Improv A Time" is a challenge completely focused on improvisational drama. This year, the teams had to incorporate elements from fairy tales, and make props and costumes from newspaper and tape during a thirty-minute time frame.
Theater smARTS" is a highly performance-based challenge in which teams highlight several theater and performance elements, focusing on how a troupe of performers might overcome a disruption in their performance.
In other competition results, Liberty Middle School earned fifth place in the Once Improv A Time competition.
Rainbow Elementary School's fourth grade team earned third place in the Theater smARTS challenge and first place in the Instant Challenge category.
"Only seven points separated third place from first place, out of 400 total possible points," Dauma said. "All five of Discovery's DI teams had an awesome day in the competition. Four of our teams came in second place. A couple of those were extremely close to first place."
Discovery teams placed second in viDIo Adventure, Theater smARTS, Once Improv a Time (secondary level) and Once Improv a Time (middle level).
"We are exceptionally proud of all of our creative problem-solving team members, as well as their team managers and parents," Dauma said.
Dauma was a winner as well. During the awards ceremony, she was named state DI volunteer of the year.
Other DI teams in the area placed as follows:
* Hazel Green High School won first place in Theater smARTS
* S.W.A.M. Madison won first place in Theater smARTS
(S.W.A.M. is an acronym for the names of the students who make up this team. It is a mixture of students that includes a home-schooled student and students who attend Madison Academy and Monrovia Middle School).
* Monrovia Elementary placed third in viDIo Adventure, fifth in Theater smARTS (elementary level), fifth A Change in Directon and second in Theater smARTS (middle level)
* Harvest Elementary placed forth in Once Improv a Time
* Blossomwood Elementary placed fifth viDIo Adventure
* Madison County Elementary placed sixth in Once Improv a Time
The complete list of tournament scores and photos can be found at the Alabama Creative Adventures web site: http://www.dialdi.org.

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