Silent play earns Riderwood Elementary team top nod in Destination Imagination competition


This spring, a group of seven Grade 5 students from Riderwood Elementary School bested 75 other teams to qualify for a national fine arts competition—all without saying a word. The Riderwood Imagineers wowed judges with a silent play on environmental stewardship that earned them third place in the state Destination Imagination (DI) tournament held April 13, 2013 at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Under the direction of Riderwood teacher and team manager Bridget Watson, Imagineers Makenzie Benhart, Chloe Ennis, Caroline Kleis, Owen Kleis, Liza Love, Christian Toomey and Zachary Urban developed a solution for the DI challenge category “In Disguise,” which requires groups to use masks and disguises to construct a silent play. Building on an environmental theme, the Imagineers used only recycled materials found in their homes and school to create props for a four-minute skit centered on the message, “The earth is our mother; we must take care of her.”

In the skit, team members used gestures, dance, movement and other non-verbal communication to tell the story of a parrot and flamingo enjoying a day at the beach. The flamingo attempts to show off by littering on the beach, and the parrot, feeling peer pressured by his friend, joins in. Mother Nature (disguised as a beach cleaner) corrects the flamingo, and they both take off their disguises to show that behind our masks, we all have a side of us that wants to do good things for the environment. The skit concludes with beach animals wrapping around Mother Nature in a symbol of unity and hope.

The skit earned the Imagineers an opportunity to compete at the Destination Imagination Global Finals in Knoxville, Tennessee this May.

Destination Imagination is an educational program that challenges student teams to creatively present solutions to global challenges. The program aligns with Common Core standards to help students apply their knowledge and creativity to real-world problems. For more information on DI, go to

Story by Pamela Gorsuch, Office of Communications. Photo by Maribeth Mattingly.
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