Instant Challenge – Construction


Tomorrow, the Instant Challenge will account for 25% of our overall team score.  The team will be taking in a room and asked to complete one of 3 types of Instant Challenge:  Drama, Construction or Hybrid.  Typically, the team will be given 5 minutes to complete the assigned tasked and then are judged on how well they work together as well as the quality of their solution.

The Drama IC is where the team is asked to create a brief skit according to some guidelines.  The Construction IC is where they are asked to build something like a bridge or tower out of various objects like straws and pipe cleaners.  Finally, the Hybrid IC is where they construct some object and then incorporate it into a skit.

We’ve been focusing on our Improv Central Challenge most of the season, and only briefly covered Construction Instant Challenges.  Since our Central Challenge already involves rapidly constructing a skit with strong characters, narratives, etc – we’re pretty well set for Dramatic Instant Challenges.  What became apparent in yesterday’s practice is that we really need to focus on our Construction IC skills and here is the algorithm to best approach this using the easy to remember mnemonic (TCMOUBT):

0) Team Work

– Work together as a team, listen – don’t talk over each other, only positive comments and a lot of them

1) Time Management

– 50% planning (do not tape, tear or build anything yet – measure twice, cut once)

2) Classify All Materials

– Some materials may have several applications, some better than others (e.g. index card: container-best, extender if folded accordion style-good, connector if wrapped or torn in slit-poor)

a) Extenders

– Identify and Use best

STRONG:chopstick > WEAK:straw

LONG:pencil  > SHORT:popsicle stick

SIMPLE:1 long object > COMPLEX:many shorter objects

b) Connectors

– Identify and Use best

STRONG:sticky label > WEAK:folded paper

FLEXIBLE:pipe cleaner > INFLEXIBLE:clamp

SIMPLE:1 strong connector > COMPLEX:several weaker connectors

c) Containers

– Identify and Use best

STRONG:index card > WEAK:newspaper

SECURE:folded/taped index card > INSECURE

SIMPLE:1 piece construction > COMPLEX:several pieces held together

3)Think of Ways Materials Can be Modified

– If Instructions don’t prohibit it, it’s OK to do:

Fold & Bend – added rigidity or to join or shape

Twist – connector

Rip & Tear – create more pieces (eg stickers/paper), longer pieces, etc

4) Optimize Material Use

– Pick best tool for the Job (eg for load bearing extender Chopstick > straw)

5) Utilize All Materials if Possible

– Go back and see if there are any left over materials that can be intelligently used

5) Build, Test, Build

– Leave time to build, test, slightly redesign and repeat



Here are how the Destination Imagination organization describes the purpose and scoring of Instant Challenges:

´ To put team’s creative problem solving abilities, creativity, and teamwork to the test in a short, time-driven Challenge.
´ Develop creative problem solving abilities
´ Develop performance techniques
´ Develop improvisational skills
´ Learn to analyze resources and use materials in new ways
´ Improve time management skills
´ Promote self-realization: Recognize and make the most of strengths
´ Promote team-realization: Recognize and make the most of a team’s diverse strengths
´ Teams will use provided materials to create a solution within the time limit and present the solution to Appraisers.
´ Teams will analyze the Challenge and any available materials and determine how best to use them in the solution.
´ Teams will use their collective and individual abilities and strengths to best advantage in solving the Challenge.
´ Teams will keep track of time during the solution and presentation phases of the Challenge.
´ Each Instant Challenge includes a non-intrusive scoring system that is completed by Appraisers to give team feedback on their solution. Feedback can also be provided by Team Managers and other supporters during practice sessions.
´ These Challenges are similar to Challenges used in Destination ImagiNation Tournaments and can be used to provide teams with “Tournament-like” conditions. Teams may choose to have an outside party, such as a Team Manager, evaluate their solutions in the categories within the Challenge. Feedback can and should be provided to the team when practicing with these Challenges.


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