Destination Imagination is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching students the creative process, and Hook Elementary fourth graders are off to the state competition after receiving first place overall in the Top Secret challenge.

Hook third graders received fourth place overall for their Show and Tech challenge and Gilbert Intermediate fifth graders won second place in the Vanished! challenge.

“They surpassed my expectations by far coming in first and fourth place,” said Hook computer lab teacher Jamie Taylor. “They did better than I ever thought they would.”

In the Top Secret challenge the fourth graders had to come up with their own codes using the following criteria:

Create and present a story about a secret mission. Research and apply methods from cryptography and steganography to reveal secret messages. Design and create a gadget that appears to be an everyday item. Create and integrate a disguised character into the story. Create and present two team choice elements that show off the team’s interests, skills, areas of strength and talents. No help was allowed from the coaches.

“The creativity from the kids was just incredible,” said Gilbert science teacher Julie Butchee.

In the Vanished! challenge the fifth graders had to come up with an eight-minute skit to show what would happen if one color vanished for a day using the following criteria:

Research the meanings, roles and uses of colors. Present a story about how the disappearance of a color changes the world. Create a colorful character that is involved with the color’s disappearance. Use technical theater methods to create a vanishing act. Create and present two Team Choice Elements that show off the team’s interests, skills, areas of strength and talents. “So they chose the color blue and used stop motion photography and projected that as their background with like the sky melting away,” Butchee said.

In the Show and Tech challenge the third graders created a moveable stage and performance based on the following criteria:

Present a show that includes an opening act and a headlining act. Design and build a stage on which the acts will take place and that will move a team member from one location to another. Enhance each act with a technical effect to amaze the audience. Create and present two Team Choice Elements that show off the team’s interests, skills, areas of strength and talents. Hook fourth graders will go to the state competition in Lubbock in April.

“Destination Imagination is dedicated to teaching students skills needed to succeed in school, their careers and beyond,” states the Destination Imagination website. “We develop project-based learning programs that blend STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education with the arts and social entrepreneurship.”