2020-21 Challenge Previews

Click here to view the FIRST LOOK document (pdf) describing the 2020-21 Challenges!

Note: This year’s challenges were designed to be solved either in person or using distance learning! Due to COVID-19, this season’s Challenges are written so that teams can solve them entirely virtually. Tournaments will be conducted virtually this year (later than usual), with Global Finals in July 2020.

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 2020-21 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

  • Create and present a video presentation in the style of a video game.
  • Include an adventurer who goes on a quest to win an ultimate prize.
  • Portray a special ability used by the adventurer.
  • Integrate 3 quest items and combine them to create a tool.
  • 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

  • Produce a video presentation that tells a story about a Scientific Law that is bent and/or broken.
  • Show how the Scientific Law is bent and/or broken.
  • Include an expert and a witness in the story.
  • Use documentary techniques to tell the story in the style of a documentary film.
  • Create and present two Team Choice Elements that show off the team’s interests, skills, areas of strength, and talents.


Our Engineering Challenge asks students to explore and apply engineering skills and tools to design and build solutions to specific applications.

Points of Interest

  • Research visual art styles and architecture styles.
  • Design and create a single three-dimensional physical model of a building.
  • Create a video presentation that tells a story about how opposites can be complementary.
  • Integrate your model of a building and a planning artifact into the video presentation.
  • Present part of the video presentation using a split screen to enhance the story.
  • 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

  • Research music videos and create a music video of your own.
  • Use music and lyrics to retell all or part of a piece of literature.
  • Design and build a costume.
  • Research production techniques to enhance the music video.
  • 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 detectives and forensic techniques.
  • Create an improvisational video presentation that tells a story about a detective and a sidekick teaming up to solve a mystery.
  • Integrate a true clue and a red herring into the mystery.
  • Include the use of a forensic technique to help solve the mystery.

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 a video presentation that includes a podcast and a commercial.
  • Include a cliffhanger and a quirky character.
  • Integrate information about the project into the video presentation.
  • 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 story about a critter who goes on a big adventure.
  • Write and illustrate a picture book.
  • Integrate a special effect into the picture book.
  • Create a song that helps tell the story.
  • Share the picture book and the song in a team-created video.

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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