Hayden hosts academic tourney

— An estimated 800 to 1,000 people will crowd the classrooms and hallways in Hayden today.

The elementary and middle schools are hosting a regional competition that stretches children's creativity and problem solving skills.

The Destination Imagination tournament runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with students in the third grade to high school competing.

A primary exhibition featuring first- and second-graders will also be held.

About 50 teams, each comprised of seven to eight students, will represent schools throughout Colorado.

The district recruited 100 volunteers to help with judging, scoring, timekeeping and other tasks.

Teams nationwide and internationally receive five problems at the beginning of each season but choose only one to research and answer in their team challenge competition.

The Hayden Elementary gym will host one problem, the Hayden High School gym will host two problems, the high school art room will host one problem and the Hayden Middle School gym will host one problem.

Each team acts out their solution individually before a single judge or a panel of judges.

Thirty minutes before the judging begins, the team receives one wild-card element they must include in their presentation.

One of the problems this year requires students to research a slate of artists.

During the competition, the team could likely be asked to include two of those artists in a skit while referring to the wild-card element as many times as possible.

Judges look at teamwork, creativity and problem solving when determining a team's score.

Teams will also compete in an instant challenge, which gives students only a few minutes to prepare their response to a problem they have never before seen.

A prior instant challenge problem asked students to construct the tallest free-standing object possible with only a few items, such as paper clips and a piece of paper.

People who watch the teams compete may not fully understand why and what they are doing, coaches said.

The first- and second-place finishers from the elementary, middle and high school divisions will go to the state tournament in Denver at the end of April. Winners from the state tournament will go to the international tournament at the University of Tennessee in May.

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