NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

April 17, 2013

Triton team wins state contest, heads to DI Global Finals


Newburyport Daily News

---- — BYFIELD — A team of local seventh-graders took on the scientific challenge, WindVisible, and placed first in the Destination Imagination state competition in the Middle School level.

The team now moves on to DI Global Finals in May at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where teams from all over the world will attend and compete.

DI is an educational program in which student teams solve open-ended challenges (each year there are six to choose from) and present their innovative solutions at tournaments around the globe. All DI solutions must be team created — scripts, sets, props, costumes and technical pieces. It is an opportunity for kids to learn new skills and trust each other in working toward a solution.

The team members — Jonah Davis, Sofie DeSimone, Haley Morgan, Sara Stackpole and Casey White — have been doing DI together since second grade at Newbury Elementary School. Self-named Marshview DI, they are now all students at Triton Regional Middle School. This is the first year the team attempted the Scientific challenge, haven chosen the Performance, Technical and Community Service challenges over the past six years.

This year’s scientific challenge involved researching wind energy, creating a piece of kinetic art (to be started in motion by the wind) and creating an 8-minute performance with an invisible visitor as a key character.

The group created a story in which a ship delivering parts for a wind farm crashes onto an island in the Pacific where there is no source of power, but there is a family of mermaids. Their invisible visitor is an artist who inspires the use of wind stalks, rather than windmills, as an installation on the island.

The team sewed mermaid costumes, designed a set decorated with recycled paint chips and used magnets to allow various items to fall from the set as if an invisible visitor were causing havoc. Their kinetic art, started in motion by a fan, shows a miniature ship crashing and mermaids “swimming” with jellyfish that twirl around in a backdrop made to look like it is under the ocean.

The team attended DI Global Finals last year for their efforts in the Project Outreach Challenge in which students identify a need in their community, designing a project to help address that need, partnering with members of the community, creating a marketing campaign to advertise the project, and then performing an 8-minute skit about the project at the tournament. The team created a “Got Heart” campaign working with Anna Jaques Hospital, the Institution for Savings, the YWCA Greater Newburyport, Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm (also known as Historic New England) and Newbury Elementary School asking, “How Will You Use Your Heart Today?” Their solution focused on promoting fitness, nutrition, stress reduction and diversity education to their peers.

The team is so thankful for all the support they received from their community partners last year and is very much looking forward to returning to Knoxville for this year’s competition. Coaches Becky Morgan and Ellie Davis will accompany them on their trip in May. The team will be collecting cans and bottles, used ink cartridges and small used electronic devices (phones and such) as a way to help offset the cost of the trip. Those wishing to donate to the team’s fundraising for the trip should contact Morgan at 978-505-1207.

For more information about Destination Imagination, check out madikids.org or idodi.org.