Oct 302014

madewithcodeThis summer, Google helped launch the Made with Code initiative along with Chelsea Clinton, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of the USA, Mindy Kaling, MIT Media Lab, National Center for Women & Information Technology, SevenTeen, TechCrunch and more. This initiative’s goal is to inspire girls take an interest in computer science and learn some basic coding principles. Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, recognized how technology is everywhere and how few women are represented in that field. Susan got this initiative started because she wanted to connect her daughter to coding resources and encourage her and other girls to be more interested in computer science.

The free projects include Blockly-based projects, like making a 3D printed bracelet, learning to create GIFs and “building beats” for a music track. While the projects are geared to girls, anyone can work their way through the projects and learn more about the ever growing computer sciences field.

Get Started by going to Made with Code or watch the video for more details.



Oct 272014

The Iowa Membership Registration Form for 2014-2015 season is available. Please note that we have moved to an online registration process. Before you begin, please review the 2014-15 Iowa Membership Registration Form Instructions and gather the appropriate information. You may use either of the following two links to access the online registration form.

For more information about the Iowa Membership and the Registration process, please go to the Iowa Membership Registration webpage.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by email at cre8iowa@gmail.com or by phone at 515-650-8949.

Oct 142014

Sky QMarkIt is important, as adult facilitators, that we ask open-ended questions from the very start of the season. Higher order reasoning, such as synthesis and evaluation, is stimulated through the use of open-ended questions[1]. By asking open-ended questions, you are encouraging your students to think of other possibilities and even develop self-reliance. As a Destination Imagination Team Manager, Coordinator, or Parent; it is even more important to use open-ended questions since asking closed-ended questions could cause or even be interference. Check out the information below to further understand the importance of asking and how to ask open-ended questions. For more information about interference, check out the Rules of Interference section in the Rules of the Road (pages 229-232).

Characteristics of an open-ended question include:[2]

  • Requires more than a yes or no answer
  • Requires more than a short answer, such as a specific fact or number
  • Often start with “What…,” “How….”, “Why. . .”
  • Can also be phrased as statement: “Tell me…”, “Describe . . .”, “Please explain . . .”
  • May take the participant a few seconds to think about their answer
  • There are no right or wrong answers

It is important to remember the characteristics of open-ended questions when framing your conversation with the students. Your DI team will try to pick up on any outside clue they can to figure out if you like what they are doing. For example, consider what the following question suggests.

Do you think you should go ahead and keep working on your script from last meeting?

The team, after hearing that question, may feel pressure to keep working on their script, regardless; if they think it is done or not. In comparison, consider the following more open-ended version.

How do you feel about the script that you were working on last meeting?

This version calls students’ attention to a particular aspect, without the strong indication they have to keep working on it. Anytime you feel like you are about to ask a yes-no question or suggest they work on a component, stop and try to re-phrase your question or statement. It is your role to encourage your students to complete each element of their Team Challenge, so encourage them to think about with a question. If the team says they feel good about that element, then leave it alone and ask the team what they would like to work on next.

Asking open-ended questions is great way to respond when the team is asking you a question. Remember, as the Team Manager, Parent, or Coordinator; you cannot contribute ideas or suggestions to the solution. Let’s take the example from the Roadmap to see how this can work.

Team Member asks, “Why won’t this gear turn properly?”

Team Manager responds with, “What are some reasons you can think of that could be keeping it from turning properly?”

The open-ended question encourages the students to come up with their own solutions. The Team Manager can then ask a follow-up open-ended question and keep the conversation going until the team comes up with a solution. If the Team Manager answered, then it would be interference and stop the students from engaging in higher order thinking.

How comfortable are you with asking open-ended questions? It takes practice, but asking open-ended questions will be worth the effort when you what your students created all on their own. To help get you started, here is a list of open-ended questions that you can keep at the ready.

  • How do you feel about [insert challenge element]?
  • What kind of information do you need in order to go forward?
  • Why is that happening?
  • What skills do you need to learn?
  • Describe how you did that.
  • Tell me what you want to work on next time.
  • How can you work together to accomplish [insert challenge element]?
  • What do you think will happen at tournament with [prop, background, misc.]?
  • How can you solve the problem with [insert object]?
  • Please explain to me how that fulfills one of the scoring elements.



[1] http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/engaging-students-through-effective-questions

[2] http://www.nal.usda.gov/wicworks/Sharing_Center/WA/Connect/Questions.pdf

Oct 082014
Students For A Creative Iowa

If you could support Students for a Creative Iowa by shopping, would you? Now you can with AmazonSmile!

What is AmazonSmile?

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com. The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers.

How does AmazonSmile work?

When first visiting AmazonSmile, customers are prompted to select a charitable organization from almost one million eligible organizations. In order to browse or shop at AmazonSmile, customers must first select a charitable organization. For eligible purchases at AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the customer’s selected charitable organization.

How do I get started?

Just click on the link above to set your AmazonSmile preferences to support cre8iowa. After that, continue shopping as normal. If you go to Amazon.com instead, the site will ask you if you would prefer to use the AmazonSmile portal.

Thank you for your contribution! Without your support, we would not be able to impact hundreds of Iowa students each year.

Oct 012014
Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The ability to work as part of a team is one of the most important skills any student must learn. Not only will teamwork be required for the rest of the student’s academic career, but also when the student goes out and joins the workforce. Teamwork is also critical for a Destination Imagination® Team. Teamwork is what allows a team to turn a stressful and challenging situation into a success. As adult volunteers, it is always difficult to watch a team struggle to work together.

The best way to avoid that struggle is to start of team building exercise early and do plenty of them throughout the entire year! Below are several team-building activity resources, so that you and your team have the best team work possible.




Below are a few activities from the Duct Tape Teambuilding Games video playlist. Check out the playlist for more great ideas!