Lower School News
As an educator, I believe that part of my job is to inspire students - inspire them to become engaged citizens, find a career, pursue a dream, take a stand, feel empowered, take risks, act, try, fail and overcome, and find the meaning of success. How do I add all that to my curriculum when I teach them?
Seven years ago, I participated in the annual Destination Imagination Team Manager training at Graded. In this training, I learned fun class management techniques, icebreakers, and different strategies to encourage student collaboration. Little did I know that I would find a way to blend curriculum with my ideas of good education. As a result, I started what I hope to be a life-long relationship with Destination Imagination!
Our students need 21st-century skills, vital skills for a future that is difficult to picture due to the rapidly changing world in which we live. The ultimate goal of Destination Imagination is to find opportunities that inspire learners to try different approaches to solving problems.
Destination Imagination is a global organization, present in more than 45 US states and 30 countries, with more than 150,000 students and 38,000 volunteers. For over 30 years, this nonprofit organization has been providing a hands-on program that fosters students' curiosity, creativity, and courage through open-ended academic challenges in the fields of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) and service learning. Students learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem-solving process. At the end of every season, students and their teams get together for tournaments to present their solutions.
The Brazil Affiliate Tournament is a two-day event where teams from all participant schools get together to share and celebrate their creative solutions to the program’s challenges. This event leads to the Global Finals, a final tournament in May, in the US, where the best teams from all over the world compete. Participants not only present their solutions to a greater audience, but also have the opportunity to engage in different workshops, camps, and activities sponsored by Destination Imagination partners such as NASA, 3M, Disney, the Motorola Solutions Foundation, the Oracle Academy, Mayo Clinic, and the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, among others.
This year, the Brazil Affiliate Tournament will take place at Graded on March 16 and 17. We are excited to have this tournament at our school again and to welcome 130 young creative minds from grade 3-11. Participants will come from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Bahia and they have all worked hard to create an original solution to their STEAM and Service Learning challenges.
Graded has been offering this program as an after-school activity for 15 years. The feedback we received from former participants confirms the research findings about the benefits of student participation in extracurricular programs that foster creativity and teamwork. Some of these benefits include more active participation and creative solutions when working on given tasks, improved self-confidence and persistency, risk taking in sharing and elaborating ideas, flexibility in collaborative work settings, and awareness of one’s talents and strengths.
Destination Imagination also teaches us, adults, to be guides and supporters, giving these young minds autonomy and allowing them to own their learning, becoming the protagonists of the process.
The Destination Imagination experience profoundly touches the hearts of those who are or have been involved at some point. Everyone is welcome at the affiliate tournament, and participants are always delighted to have an audience encourage them! Destination Imagination is always looking for volunteers. Please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.