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Hagerstown Destination Imagination 2000

March 11, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

They built a mini-roller coaster out of "trash" and wrote a skit about an elephant who finds a young butterfly and feeds it milkweed - only to discover the butterfly is lactose intolerant.

Imagination ruled the day at the Boonsboro Education Complex Saturday as students from around Western Maryland competed in Destination Imagination.

The contest promotes teamwork and creativity by assigning teams of students loosely worded tasks and problems.

Some students had to build things, some had to write and perform stories or musicals, and others did a combination of both.

"I like how you can turn junk into something you can use," said Rachel Powell, who belonged to a team from Boonsboro Elementary School.

Powell, 8, and her teammates spent months building a roller coaster out of cardboard, a metal tube and Styrofoam. The object: To get your tennis balls through the roller coaster - which had to have a loop, corkscrew and jump - faster than the other teams.

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"We learned how to work as a team and learned science words like velocity and gravity," said Daniel Perkins, 11, who is also on the Boonsboro Elementary team.

"It's a lot of work, but so rewarding to see these kids be so creative," said Brenda Keller, a coach of a team from Fountaindale Elementary School.

The Fountaindale students wrote and performed a story about an elephant, who happens to be a doctor, who finds a butterfly still in its cocoon. The elephant, played by Keller's daughter, raises the butterfly after it emerges from the cocoon.

But the butterfly becomes sick because the elephant feeds it milkweed and the butterfly is lactose intolerant, the students explained.

The story has a happy ending, as the butterfly recovers and is reunited with its mother.

"It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun," said Katie Zimmerman, who wrote and performed a song on her clarinet for the skit.

The winners of Saturday's contests will compete at a statewide competition April 8 at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County.

"This allows the kids to use teamwork," said Rebecca Leverett, a project challenge teacher at Lincolnshire Elementary School and co-organizer of the regional Destination Imagination contest. "They're going to be faced with problems for the rest of their lives. It's a life skill."

In addition to the tasks the students worked on for months, each team also competed in an "instant challenge," a secret set of problems unveiled the day of the contest.

In all about 55 teams, most with about seven students each, from elementary, middle and high schools in Garrett, Allegany, Frederick and Washington counties participated in the contest Saturday.

Maugansville Elementary boasted the event's only primary team.

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