2019-20 Challenge Previews

Click here to view the FIRST LOOK document (pdf) describing the 2019-20 Challenges!

We offer SIX unique Challenges each year that blend STEAM with performance, design with spontaneity, and research with art — just to start! Our Challenges are meticulously crafted by thought leaders in different content areas, such as technology, science, engineering, and the arts. Our Challenges are deliberately open-ended, so that awe-inspiring, student-created solutions may range from the sublimely simple to the overwhelmingly complex. Participants will choose the Challenge their team of up to seven students would like to work on — and then present their solution at a regional tournament in the Spring! Maybe their team will progress to the State Tournament and Global Finals, but remember: for solving the team’s Challenge, they’re already winners in our book!

From building a bridge to exploring photography to experimenting with sound effects, we have six new competitive 2019-20 Team Challenges that will inspire your team’s journey through the creative process and enable your team members to acquire and practice the skills needed to succeed in school, careers, and beyond—all while having the best experience possible.


The Technical Challenge prompts students to complete tasks by using engineering, research, strategic planning and related skills.

Points of Interest

  • Design and build an invention.
  • Create and present a story about how a problem is solved with the use of the invention.
  • Integrate an invention artifact to highlight the development process.
  • Design and build scenery that shows the impact of solving the problem.
  • Create and present two Team Choice Elements that show off the team’s interests, skills, areas 
of strength, and talents.


Our Scientific Challenge blends curiosity of science research with the thrill and creativity of performance art.

Points of Interest

  • Research a real species and a real habitat.
  • Create and present a story about the first encounter between the species and the habitat.
  • Show how the species and the habitat change as a result of the encounter.
  • Present the story in theater in the round.
  • Create and present two Team Choice Elements that show off the team’s interests, skills, areas of strength, and talents.


Our Engineering Challenge asks teams to design, build, and test load-bearing structures out of specific materials.

Points of Interest

  • Design and build a bridge that will be assembled during the Presentation.
  • Move weight across the bridge to test its strength.
  • Create and present a story about an unexpected connection and its outcome.
  • Design and create a set piece that transitions between settings.
  • Create and present two Team Choice Elements that show off your team’s interests, skills, areas of strength, and talents.

Fine Arts

Our Fine Arts Challenge has students flex their acting and creative muscles as they experiment with different types of artistic media and theater arts, write scripts and design props.

Points of Interest

  • Create and present a story that features an unseen character and its impact on a team-selected photograph.
  • Theatrically recreate the photograph during the Presentation.
  • Create and present a visual effect that includes a photographic technique.
  • Show how the visual effect changes the perspective of one or more characters.
  • Create and present two Team Choice Elements that show off the team’s interests, skills, areas of strength, and talents.


Our Improvisational Challenge is all about research, spontaneity, and storytelling. Teams receive topics and produce skits right on the spot.

Points of Interest

  • Research superpowers and how they are portrayed in comic books, literature, film, and other media.

  • Create and present an improvisational skit about a villain who uses a superpower to cause an unexpected situation.

  • Include a hero who uses an underwhelming power to try to overcome the unexpected situation.

  • Enhance the skit with sound effects.

Service Learning / Project Outreach®

Our Service Learning Challenge is designed to engage students in public service to address real-life community issues.

Points of Interest

  • Identify, design, carry out, and evaluate a project that addresses a need in a real community.
  • Create and present a story that shows at least one character in a race against time.
  • Integrate information about the project into the story.
  • Design and build a device that represents time and highlights milestones from the project.
  • Create and present two Team Choice Elements that show off your team’s interests, skills, areas of strength, and talents.

Early Learning / Rising Stars!®

Our Rising Stars! for Early Learners Challenge offers simple experiences with the creative process, and it gives young kids (preschool through 2nd grade) a place to work together and make new friends.

Points of Interest

  • Create and present a play about characters who travel from one planet to another.
  • Include something surprising that happens during the trip.
  • Design and create a puppet to use in the play.
  • Launch team-created rockets during the play.
  • Create costumes, props, and scenery to help tell the story.

Instant Challenge

Instant Challenges require teams to engage in quick, creative and critical thinking. At a tournament, a team will receive an Instant Challenge and the materials with which to solve it. The team members must think on their feet by applying appropriate skills to produce a solution in a period of just five to eight minutes.

In a world with growing cultural connections, increased levels and types of communication, and a new need for real-time teamwork and problem solving, the ability to solve problems quickly is becoming increasingly critical.

Instant Challenges are performance-based, task-based, or a combination of the two. Although each Instant Challenge has different requirements, all Instant Challenges reward teams for their teamwork and the creativity of their solutions. Instant Challenges are kept confidential through the day of the Tournament.

Sound good?

Sign up to start a Destination Imagination team now! Start by purchasing a team pack online.

These summaries are just the beginning!

The information provided in this First Look document is a synopsis of each Challenge and is designed to help your team decide on which Challenge you would like to solve. Your team MUST download and read the full Challenge and Rules of the Road from the Resource Area in order to solve the Challenge successfully. Your team is strongly encouraged to read and use Roadmap as you create your Challenge solution.

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