Frequently Asked Questions
About Destination Imagination
Destination Imagination (DI) is a project-based learning program designed to complement K-12 and college/university education by building students’ critical thinking, creative problem solving, teamwork, and leadership skills. Annually, DI offers Team Challenges in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), fine arts, service learning, and early learning. By selecting and solving a DI Challenge, students collaborate, explore their passions, discover their unique abilities, and learn new skills. All registered student teams have the opportunity to showcase their Challenge solutions at local competitions and may advance to Affiliate (statewide) and global competitions.
The goal of Destination Imagination is to inspire and equip students with invaluable 21st century skills, creative outlets, and the confidence needed to succeed in school, their careers, and beyond. Our goal here in New York is to bring DI to as many New York students, schools, and communities as possible.
Destination Imagination was founded in 1999. This global nonprofit organization continues to grow with the support of 38,000 volunteers in 30 different countries. Since its founding, DI has impacted more than one million participants. Fun Fact: Three New York DI volunteers (Dee Urban, Bruce Urban, and our Board of Trustees’ own Rick Rand) were part of a small team of volunteers on Project Rumpelstiltskin, the initiative that created and founded Destination Imagination, Inc! NYDI has played a major role in the global DI community since its inception. Every year, New York contributes Appraisers, Challenge Masters, and other volunteers to other Affiliate tournaments and Global Finals, and we are actively involved with the staff at Destination Imagination, Inc.
The best way to experience DI? To see it! Check out the 1st Place Global Finals solution to 2019’s Scientific Challenge, Medical Mystery. In this Challenge, teams were asked to:
- Research the human body and medical conditions that affect the human body.
- Create and present a story about a medical mystery that affects a human character.
- Design and build a representation that shows the medical mystery and at least one symptom.
- Present an action or scene that is shown from two or more perspectives at the same time.
- Create and present two Team Choice Elements that show off the team’s interests, skills, areas of strength, and talents.
Check out this page for a closer look inside the magic.
How to Participate
A Team Kit includes your team number, Team Manager background check, and grants you access to DI’s Challenge Experience! There are a few ways you can purchase a Team Number:
Want to form a team and purchase a Team Kit independently?
Simply click here for more information on this process!
Is there a Destination Imagination program already in your school?
Contact your Regional Director who will connect you with the Coordinator of the program at your school. This is important because your school district or sponsoring organization may have access to discounts on Team Number purchases or may have rules about reimbursing people who purchase on their own.
Are you looking for an existing team to join?
If you have an individual student looking for a team to join, or don't think you have enough team members to form a team, we can help! Contact your Regional Director for more information.
Are you an organization planning to form or sponsor multiple teams?
If you are an organization or school planning to start a local Destination Imagination program with multiple teams, Contact your Regional Director for information and support.
Please Note: When you purchase your Team Kit, it is very important to provide your correct contact information, including:
Sponsoring organization name, if you have one:
- For school-sponsored teams this should be your official school district name (such as Village UFSD or Town CSD).
- For other sponsoring organizations, just list the name of the organization.
- This should include your name, email address, and telephone number. If you don't provide complete and correct information, we will not be able to contact you and you will not be able to register your team for the tournament—so please double check that your information is accurate and helps us reach you!
Destination Imagination is an easy and cost-effective way to complement school curriculum and teach 21st century skills. It provides opportunities for kids to learn how to work together, solve complex problems, and experience the creative process. If you’re interested in bringing DI to your school, school district, or community click here to learn more.
Students from kindergarten through university/college can participate in Destination Imagination—and can keep participating for as many years as they’d like! DI is broken out into the following levels by age:
RISING STARS ®
Designed for Preschool through 2nd grade
(no student over age 12)
(no student over age 15)
(no student over age 19)
Full-time, post-secondary students enrolled in college, university, trade, or technical school or in the military, as well as college-bound high school seniors who are taking accredited courses offered by a college or university that will qualify for course credit when entering higher education.
The cost per team (of up to 7 students) is $475, which includes a Team Number, background check for the Team Manager, and New York Affiliate Fees. In addition to the team fees, each DI Challenge has a maximum budget for materials that can be included in the final Presentation, usually no more than $250. Between the cost of a Team Kit and Challenge materials, teams typically spend $150 per student. For more info, please visit our Pricing & Financial Aid page.
Teams will also have travel expenses for tournaments if they advance to the state or global level. If your team advances to Global Finals, for example, you will need to consider the expenses to cover the registration fee, travel, and accommodations. The registration fee for Global Finals is currently $5,500 per team. Many teams fundraise locally (with bake sales, car washes, crowdfunding, etc.) to help cover these costs. Here are 15 DI fundraising ideas! If your team needs financial assistance to attend Global Finals, you can apply at globalfinals.org.
Teams typically form and begin working on their Challenge in early fall. Team Numbers go on sale August 1 of each Challenge season and teams are free to begin working on their Challenge anytime after that. Our Regional Tournaments are typically held in March, and our statewide Affiliate Tournament is typically held in April. The Challenge season culminates in late spring (typically in May) with DI’s international tournament, Global Finals, where the top teams from across the globe celebrate and present their stellar solutions.
Teams typically spend approximately 2-4 months planning, designing, and building a solution to the Challenge they choose. Teams usually meet at least once a week to work on their solution. Team meeting frequency, time, and location are up to each team to decide. You can learn more about How the Season Works here.
Destination Imagination is grateful for the thousands of volunteers who contribute to our organization. We are always seeking volunteers for the following roles:
Team Managers work directly with teams, helping them as they prepare for tournaments. It's similar to being a coach. Team Managers are provided with resources (like our Roadmap) and training opportunities in person and online.
Appraisers & Officials:
These volunteers perform scoring at tournaments. They might be assigned to score a Challenge, help in the Prep Area, the Score Room, or to assist with other tournament needs.
These volunteers help oversee a specific Challenge, including sharing the Challenge rules and details with Appraisers and other volunteers.
For Current Participants
To access resources such as Challenges, Rules of the Road, the Roadmap, and Tournament Data Forms, you'll need to visit DI’s Resource Area (login required). Click on Create an Account to get started.
Once you're logged in, click Documents > View Documents, then use the dropdown menus to find the materials you're looking for. Please note that Challenge materials are only accessible to Team Managers who have cleared their background checks.
Teams are allowed to ask for Clarifications, or more detailed responses to help them understand part of their Challenge. Clarifications that will impact a large number of teams are published on DI’s website so everyone working on that Challenge can access them. You can find the deadline to submit a Clarification and any currently published Clarifications here. If you don't see any listed under your Challenge, that just means there aren't any yet! Occasionally, our International Challenge Masters will add to these pages as clarifications arise, so it's a good idea to check back to this page. Still have questions? Contact your Regional Director, who will assist you in getting in touch with your local Challenge Master.
DI is 100% student-driven, meaning only team members may contribute ideas and work to their Challenge solutions. Help from non-team members, including Team Managers and parents, is called Interference. Parents cannot contribute ideas, build, or create things for students’ Challenge solutions or do anything else that is considered Interference, but there are plenty of ways you can help a team. Learn more here about how you can support without Interfering!