Team Alcoa sweeps regional creative problem solving competition

Three teams comprised of Alcoa Middle School students collectively called Team Alcoa each won first place during the regional Destination ImagiNation challenge competition held at the University of Tennessee.

The 19 middle school students coached by Leanne Gibbs and Dr. Keith Hnilica will represent East Tennessee during the state competition on the campus of David Libscomb University in Nashville on April 12.

Approximately 45,000 volunteer adults and almost 350,000 young people in 50 states and 41 countries are participating in the 2007-2008 DI Challenge to compete on local, region and state levels to solve brain teaser problems in the hopes of advancing to global finals on May 21-24.

The 17-week DI problem-solving program is divided into steps that help young people work and grow together as a team, learning to nurture mutual respect while enhancing their own self-confidence and problem solving skills.

The set-up of the challenges is open-ended, allowing for an endless variety of solutions and a sense of accomplishment for the team. All the challenges are designed to develop participants’ critical thinking and creative problem solving skills. The teams are led by supportive and caring facilitators, who are parents or adult volunteers.

The Alcoa teams who participated in the challenges are Hit or Myth, CHORIFIC! and DI’ve Got a Secret.

Each of the challenges offers a different focus, such as mathematics, technical design and construction, experimentation, theater arts, social studies, research, story development, architecture, geography, structural engineering and other disciplines requiring critical thinking skills necessary to be successful in tomorrow’s world.

“Watching these kids expand their creative skills makes volunteering as a team manager extremely rewarding,” said Leanne Gibbs. Dr. Hnilica added, “I recognize how vital creativity is both during my time teaching and doing research. Science is advanced by those understanding the importance of team work and creativity.”

Destination ImagiNation Inc.,(DI) is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Glassboro, NJ. DI’s creative problem solving challenges comply with National Education Standards. They are designed by a staff of educators and other professionals who have helped millions of young people enhance their critical thinking skills in a fun and nurturing team setting since DI was founded.

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