Picking a Challenge

Teams 3rd grade and above get to choose their challenge.

Each team will pick ONE challenge to work on for the whole season. They can choose one of the following: technology, scientific, engineering, fine arts, service learning (aka community service), and improv.

Some key things to keep in mind:

  • Improv doesn’t build things. They don’t make costumes, sets, props, etc. They don’t prepare a skit in advance. They basically do a ton of instant challenges, but there is no rehearsed skit.
  • The other 5 challenges (Technology, Scientific, Engineering, Fine Arts, and Service Learning) all include a skit. For each of these challenges, the students will have to write a story, perform a skit, create costumes, create a setting, and design props. As a result, you can fit technology into any of these five challenges. You can fit painting, sewing, music, or just about anything into any of them. You can use wood to build something in fine arts, you can write a song for Engineering, you can sew costumes for technology, you can use a robotic arm in service learning. Every kid should be able to create a way to build/make something they care about in each of these challenges.
  • If you do the service learning project, they need to do a community service project in their community — and then they will create a skit about it. The service projects are entirely kid driven. They need to identify the need in their community, plan their project, and execute it. Some examples of service learning projects include: raising money for an animal shelter, knitting hats for cancer patients, doing a choir concert event to cheer up nursing home residents, planting a garden, reading to kindergartners, recruiting people for the community blood drive, painting a mural for the library, doing a food drive, etc.


DO NOT pick your challenge right away! Give your team 2-3 meetings to bond and get to know each other before introducing the challenges.

Here is ONE example of how your team could pick their challenge:

  1. Have the students fill out the interest survey on pages 94-97 of the Roadmap. Analyze the teams’ interests to see if it informs your choices.
  2. Give each child the Challenge Preview document to take home and read on their own. Ask each child to rank their choices 1-6 at home and have the parents email the results to you before the following meeting. Eliminate any challenge that did not receive a #1 and had a low average number.
  3. At the next meeting, watch the challenge preview movies (found at http://www.destinationimagination.org) – videos under Team Challenges
  4. Let each kid pitch why they liked their favorite challenge.
  5. Discuss the team’s special talents and interests. See who is interested in doing what jobs. Figure out if there is a challenge where the big point items match up with the team’s talents and interests.
  6. Ideally they can get it down to 2 or 3 challenges.
  7. Then look through the full challenge document for your final choices.
  8. Finally, vote. Have everyone vote for their #1 and #2. See if there is one that everyone can live with.

(If your team all knows they want the same thing, you do not need to go through this whole process. Again – this is just one potentially way of approaching it.)


What to do if you have a child who doesn’t like the challenge that everyone else wants to do:

  • First, find out what they liked about the other challenge. Maybe they wanted to do the musical because they love to sing. Maybe they wanted to do engineering because they love to make things. Maybe they wanted to do fine arts because they like to paint. Make sure the kids know that there is a way to include all there interests in almost all of the challenges. Have them brainstorm ways they could fit that child’s interest into the challenge the team selected.
  • You can always table the discussion and come back to it another day.

If you get down to 2 and can’t decide:

  • You can have them create “mini-fake solutions”…. so if we did “Unlikely Attraction,” we could have a roller coaster under the sea. By having them brainstorm what some possible solutions would look like might help them decide what project sounds like more fun to them.

Once you have selected your challenge, you need to enter it into your team’s page on Destinationimagination.org. Login to the site. Go to “My Teams.” Click on the pencil to edit. Select your level (EL = elementary 3rd-5th grade). Select your Challenge (Challenges are listed by challenge name (not by challenge category). Use the Challenge Preview document to figureĀ out the name of your desired challenge.) Select your language, and then click ship. They will ship the full challenge to you. Digital copies of all of the challenge are on the DI Dropbox. You can also get digital copies of all challenges from destinationimagination.org.

If you start on a challenge and you don’t like it, you can change it (but they will not send you printed copy of the challenge; you’ll have to use a digital copy.) However, just don’t wait too long to make the change. It takes a solid 2 months to complete a challenge. All challenges need to be set by the time you register for the tournament in January.


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