The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 30, 2001


Destination Imagination: Creative kids team up in competition

Carlisle students took imagination to a new level in regional competition of Destination Imagination (DI), formerly known as Odyssey of the Mind, in Bedford on Saturday, March 17. The DI program puts a premium on creativity and teamwork in solving problems. The Concord-Carlisle High School team, making its debut, placed first in the secondary division and proceeded to state competition at Worcester Polytechnic Institute on March 24, where they placed seventh.

All members of the state-bound DI team came from Carlisle, including Megan Lyons, Clare Nosowitz, and Elizabeth Popolo. The three high-school ninth graders competed last year on the Carlisle team that placed third nationally at the intermediate level. A fourth member of that unit, Stephanie Ivanov, also from Carlisle, elected not to compete but acted as a student coach of the Carlisle intermediate team this year. That group of sixth graders placed second at the regional level.

The Carlisle elementary team of fourth graders placed fourth in its regional division. The town also sent two primary teams to the regional event. These teams performed in the non-competitive division.

All DI teams had about four months to prepare. Most met weekly and then scheduled additional meetings as the event neared. The team managers, parents of children in the program, handled administrative details and provided a place for the kids to meet. Managers act as hands-off coaches, and are strictly forbidden from interfering with the team's development of a solution to a challenge.

"There were all new managers this year," said Carlisle DI program coordinator Nicole Bloomfield. "They did an amazing job learning the ropes. The kids were the ones with the experience."

Raising a spirited performance

Fifty-eight teams attended the DI regional competition. Twelve towns competed, including Acton, Arlington, Bedford, Burlington, Cambridge, Carlisle, Concord, Maynard, Needham, Sudbury, Waltham and Wellesley.

Both the CCHS team and one of the primary teams chose the IncreDIble TechEffects challenge. The teams had to research the technology of special effects. They had to create an original tale that utilized four special effects, with a special one only visible to a specified member of the judging team.

The secondary team designed a ghost story around the concept of what happens if you remove the "do not remove" tag from a mattress. Special effects included: a vanishing and reappearing devil image, flowers that wilted, a demonic voice, a levitating tag on mattress and a colored light wheel on the set.

"I really enjoyed the experience," said Harvey Nosowitz who managed the CCHS team. "These kids know what they a re doing. They are very self-motivated."

Putting research on display

The "DInamic Improv" challenge selected by the Carlisle intermediate team required them to research three predefined categories: famous innovators, international cultural performers and important world landmarks. The team also could bring nine items as their only props. On the day of the tournament, the team randomly selected items from each category, as well as an unknown scenario and unknown characterization. The group had 30 minutes to prepare, and then had to deliver an improvisational performance.

The sixth graders from Carlisle drew Harry Houdini as the famous innovator, an opera star from Italy as the cultural performer, and the Blarney Castle as the world landmark. They had to incorporate poetry as the scenario, and clucking like a chicken as the characterization. The team managed to pull together these random elements and tied the eventual winners of the division, the Marshall Simonds Middle School team from Burlington. Carlisle lost points in the instant challenge component of the competition, which is an on-the-spot improvisational exercise. "The instant challenge was very difficult," said manager Carol Reed. "It was unlike anything they had encountered before."

Arming detectives with science

The "Mystery Loves Company" challenge, selected by the Carlisle elementary team and one of the primary teams, required them to develop a mystery story that featured a surprise or unexpected ending. The plot required use of technical communications and a scientific experiment.

The elementary team, consisting of fourth graders, developed a tale that centered on finding a cure for an infectious and fatal plague. The well-developed performance involved space travel to another planet. The kids discovered eating loathsome brussels sprouts as the antidote to the disease. The team ran over the allotted seven minutes during practice, but completed their program on time in competition. "I was proud of them," said manager Gabrielle Dockterman. "The team really came together. They had a great time."

Bloomfield, in her first year running the Carlisle program, was pleased the town sent two primary teams to the DI event. Experienced kids formed the base for all of the town's competitive teams. "The kids really learn a lot about working as a team," she said. "They often work with different kids than they are used to playing with after school. They really benefit from solving a problem together."

Bloomfield hopes the Carlisle program will continue to grow. Participants interested in next year's program can contact her at 371-0235 or

Carlisle fields all divisions at DI regional

Primary Teams (Noncompetitive)

Challenge: Mystery Loves Company

Participants (Grade):

Olivia Anton (1)

Andrew Balboni (1)

Charlie Bloomfield (1)

Anthony Chirban (K)

Amelia Cox (1)

Brendon Nunan (1)

Talia Simon (1)

Managers: Nina Anton,

Maria Balboni

Challenge: IncreDible TechEffects

Participants (Grade):

Zander Ansara (3)

Andy Isaac (2)

Tommy Veitch (2)

Curran Wilmot (2)

David Yanofsky (2)

Managers: Kathy McKinley,

Susan Yanofsky

Elementary Team (Competitive)

Challenge: Mystery Loves Company

Participants (Grade):

Dianna Bedrosian (4)

Alex Brewster (4)

Amanda Caddell (4)

Jake Dockterman (4)

Theresa Fritz-Endres (4)

Max Herman (4)

Kyra Prats (4)

Managers: Gabrielle Dockterman,

Phil Herman

Intermediate Team (Competitive)

Challenge: DInamic Improv

Participants (Grade):

Jason Drinkwater (6)

Dan Fidler (6)

Rushi Ganmukhi (6)

Didi Offenheiser (6)

Meredith Popolo (6)

Maia Reed (6)

Kathleen Walsh (6)

Managers: Suzanne Hill, Carol Reed

Secondary Team (Competitive)

Challenge : IncreDIble TechEffects

Participants (Grade):

Megan Lyons (9)

Clare Nosowitz (9)

Elizabeth Popolo (9)

Manager: Harvey Nosowitz

2001 The Carlisle Mosquito