instant [in-stuhnt] noun; an infinitesimal or very short space of time; a moment: They arrived not an instant too soon. 

     adjective: succeeding without any interval of time; prompt; immediate: instant relief from a headache.

challenge [chal-inj] noun: a call or summons to engage in any contest, as of skill, strength, etc.

     verb (used with object): to summon to a contest of skill, strength, etc.

In DI: Instant Challenge is a 5-8 minute test of the teams’ abilities to listen, read, understand, and think on their feet in a creative manner with teamwork and skill. The official definition from DI is here

Teams have to practice IC. Really practice. Ask any long time appraiser and they will tell you it’s easy to tell teams who have practiced versus teams who have not.

So where do you get practice materials? The Internet has many sites for these.

Thoughts on IC for TM’s;

Having done the apprising thing several years now and twice at Globals, here’s some advise for TM’s as you train/critique your teams IC performance.

1. Practice, Practice, Practice. Most appraisers can tell right off teams that have practiced and those who have not.

2. Listen and read the challenge. Be sure that you understand the object of the problem.
IC problems increasingly require strategic decisions from the teams.
For example:
The problem is to locate 10 items worth 5 points each using a team-built devise. 1 of the 10 gives the team a bonus 10 points. There is also 20 points for creativity and 20 points for teamwork.
The team gets time to design, build and practice with the device followed by time to use the devise(s) for score.
How should they proceed? Amazingly, even though the problem says the team receives 60 points for finding all the objects vs. 20 for creativity, teams will spend the entire 1st period building what they think is a creative devise, never testing it to see if it works. Then, in the scoring period, they discover it doesn’t work & by the time they recover they end up maybe getting the 2 “mercy” objects. 10 points, no bonus, and actually, the design of the setup and materials actually limits just how creative the team can get & still solve the problem. So say 10 points for creativity, and maybe 12 for teamwork. Total 32 of 100.
Another team builds a devise that isn’t so creative, but works, they pull 9 items including the bonus item (45 + 10 points) creativity 5 points, and similar teamwork, 12 points, giving them a total of 72. In adjusted IC scores, 2nd team gets 100, 1st team gets 44.44

3. It’s IC, things may not be as they seem.
Problem says to build a structure on a 2″x 2″ platform suspended 30″ above the floor and the structure may not touch the floor. Points are awarded per inch for structure up to 60 inches. How many teams were told by one of their members that “structure” means it must be built upwards? Problem didn’t say that. And arguing about it kills the teamwork score. Some teams walked away with single digit IC raw scores.
Another problem says the team is to develop a non-verbal language to communicate with a couple of team members across the room so that a devise may be operated to display colors in the sequence on the card given to the communication team. They are given time to develop the language and practice. The team never touches the devise concentrating on their language. When time starts, they discover that the devise switch they thought would cause red to be shown actually shows green. The green shows blue, the blue shows yellow and the yellow actually shows red! Many teams left that room crying.
4. It’s IC, and sometimes things may be as they seem…
Ok, in this one the team is to create a skit where the animals are campaigning for King of the Jungle. Seems easy. Team that won it was the only team all day where the team members acted as animals, walked on all fours, seal on the belly, slapping “fins” for attention, etc.

5. Then there’s the old stand by; “If it doesn’t say you can’t, then you probably can.”

6. Finally, have fun! IC is fun. And, as I heard recently, IC is the final exam to see if the team learned the lessons of the DI season, Creativity and Teamwork.

Then, a Montana Team Manager supplied this idea to the the DINI Yahoo group on 11/01/2011:

“I haven’t been Doin’ DI for a couple of years now but, there are LOTS of state and regional DI sites that have IC’s. Also, check out the Instant Challenge books from One volume, there are several, has 100+ ICs of all types. They were lifesavers for me in my less creative moments!”

“Don’t be afraid to mix up what you already have by:

  • adding required length/distance;
  • eliminating a critical supply;
  • adding or substituting some odd supplies;
  • adding another component (performance to present solution, etc);
  • muting the team (no talking during the IC);
  • blindfolding half the team who must then do the IC at the direction of the other half who cannot touch materials.”

“What’s the point? Be creative! You can also try having the team create their own ICs for team managers and parents, another team, etc. Some of my teams learned MORE about ICs by creating them (what makes it hard, fun, creative?)”

“I used to get together with TMs from my area in the fall and have an IC party packaging night. Someone would select enough ICs for 2 or 3 per week for the entire season and gather supplies/shop. We’d all get together and assemble ICs for the entire year in one night for all the teams! We tried to keep an even split between types if ICs (performance, task, hybrid) and we’d think up ways to make each one easier for younger teams and harder for those pesky high schoolers. Mostly we just talked about this while we assembled. Every TM went home with a large garbage bag full of ICs and lots of ideas. We would always end up with extra at the end of the year which we’d use at an end of year party with friends and family (or save to start off the next year!).”

Best of luck!


Great Falls, Montana”