On Saturday March 3, more than 200 Yukon students gathered at F.H. Collins Secondary School to participate in the territory’s Destination Imagination Yukon Tournament. The program partners with schools to challenge students to use creativity and innovation to solve challenges in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
The event is an opportunity for students to learn creative problem-solving skills, according to Destination Imagination Yukon’s Affiliate Director Elaine Taylor.
“Seven challenges covering different subjects are presented to students at the start of the year,” Taylor said. “The students will pick a challenge and prepare over a number of months to present their solution at the tournament.”
Taylor has recently taken over the program’s organization from Joanne Kozar, who started the program six years ago.
Destination Imagination Yukon has grown from the three teams who competed in the first tournament, to up to 45 seven-student teams who were registered for the event on March 3.
The program is currently offered in 11 Yukon schools ranging from after-school activities to integration as part of the education curriculum.
But there remains room for growth in the program, particularly with rural communities in the Yukon. A team of students from Dawson City was the lone Yukon communities entrant at this year’s territorial tournament. Last fall, Destination Imagination Yukon launched a three year Community Outreach pilot project with the two schools in Watson Lake.
“Up until recently there haven’t been many communities participating,” Taylor explained. “We’ve seen an opportunity for a pilot project in Watson Lake to create a model for other communities to adopt.”
The program will be working with teachers and students in Grades 6, 7, 8 and 9. The program is being supported with funding from Wildstone Construction and the international Destination Imagination organization, which will enable the Yukon representatives to travel to Watson Lake and help implement the classroom materials needed.
“The international organization has an interest in northern communities,” Taylor said. “We received a micro-grant from them for the project. It was one of eight approved across 30 countries.”
The group has already expanded some of the programming available in Whitehorse and is being organized for Watson Lake. Local businesses have contributed staff with skills applicable to the competition and they teach at Friday night sessions. In addition, they are partnering with artists who are hired to work with teachers and students to improve their presentation skills for the competition.
For this year’s competition they recruited the very first French speaking appraiser team for Destination Imagination Yukon. Many of the teams, including the one that qualified for last year’s global competition, are comprised of French-speaking students and the event organizers wanted to ensure that teams were given the choice to present their challenge solutions in French and English.
The top five teams will be invited to attend the Provincial Tournament in British Columbia later this year. They are Les Super Tortues (École Émilie-Tremblay), Frosted Ant-Arctic Churros (Hidden Valley), L.A.R.Y (Vanier Secondary), Grumpy Gummies (École Émilie-Tremblay), and Girl Power (Jack Hulland).
The top team may have the opportunity to attend the Destination Imagination Global Finals in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Teachers, students or parents looking to learn more about Destination Imagination Yukon can contact them at DIYukon@gmail.com.
Top 5 Teams
Les Super Tortues
(École Émilie-Tremblay) Scientific Challenge Unlikely Attraction (Elementary)
Frosted Ant-Arctic Churros
(Hidden Valley) Scientific Challenge Unlikely Attraction (Middle)
(Vanier Secondary) Scientific Challenge Unlikely Attraction Challenge (Secondary)
(École Émilie-Tremblay)Engineering Challenge Drop Zone (Secondary)
(Jack Hulland)Fine Arts Challenge Change of Tune (Elementary)