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Lesson Plans on Inventive Thinking and Creativity

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Practicing Creativity

Practicing Creativity

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Activity 2: Practicing Creativity with the Class

Step 1: Cultivate the following creative thinking processes described by Paul Torrance and discussed in "The Search for Satori and Creativity" (1979):
  • Fluency the production of a great number of ideas.
  • Flexibility the production of ideas or products that show a variety of possibilities or realms of thought.
  • Originality the production of ideas that are unique or unusual.
  • Elaboration the production of ideas that display intensive detail or enrichment.
For practice in elaboration, have pairs or small groups of students choose a particular idea from the brainstorming list of invention ideas and add the flourishes and details that would develop the idea more fully.

Allow the students to share their innovative and inventive ideas.

Step 2: Once your students have become familiar with the rules of brainstorming and the creative thinking processes, Bob Eberle's Scamperr technique for brainstorming could be introduced.

  • Substitute What else instead? Who else instead? Other ingredients? Other material? Other power? Other place?
  • Combine How about a blend, an alloy, an ensemble? Combine purposes? Combine appeals?
  • Adapt What else is like this? What other idea does this suggest? Does past offer parallel? What could I copy?
  • Minify Order, form, shape? What to add? More time?
  • Magnify Greater frequency? Higher? Longer? Thicker?
  • Put to other uses New ways to use as is? Other uses I modified? Other places to use? Other people to reach?
  • Eliminate What to subtract? Smaller? Condensed? Miniature? Lower? Shorter? Lighter? Omit? Streamline? Understate?
  • Reverse Interchange components? Other pattern?
  • Rearrange Other layout? Other sequence? Transpose cause and effect? Change pace? Transpose positive and negative? How about opposites? Turn it backward? Turn it upside-down? Reverse roles?
Step 3: Bring in any object or use objects around the classroom to do the following exercise. Ask the students to list many new uses for a familiar object by using the Scamper technique with regard to the object. You could use a paper plate to begin with, and see how many new things the students will discover. Make sure to follow the rules for brainstorming in Activity 1.

Step 4: Using literature, ask your students to create a new ending to a story, change a character or situation within a story, or create a new beginning for the story that would result in the same ending.

Step 5: Put a list of objects on the chalkboard. Ask your students to combine them in different ways to create a new product.

Let the students make their own list of objects. Once they combine several of them, ask them to illustrate the new product and explain why it might be useful.

Activity 3: Practicing Inventive Thinking with the Class

Before your students begin to find their own problems and create unique inventions or innovations to solve them, you can assist them by taking them through some of the steps as a group.

Finding the Problem

Let the class list problems in their own classroom that need solving. Use the "brainstorming" technique from Activity 1. Perhaps your students never have a pencil ready, as it is either missing or broken when it is time to do an assignment (a great brainstorming project would be to solve that problem). Select one problem for the class to solve using the following steps:

  • Find several problems.
  • Select one to work on.
  • Analyze the situation.
  • Think of many, varied, and unusual ways of solving the problem.
List the possibilities. Be sure to allow even the silliest possible solution, as creative thinking must have a positive, accepting environment in order to flourish.

Finding a Solution

  • Select one or more possible solutions to work on. You may want to divide into groups if the class elects to work on several of the ideas.
  • Improve and refine the idea(s).
  • Share the class or individual solution(s)/invention(s) for solving the class problem.
Solving a "class" problem and creating a "class" invention will help students learn the process and make it easier for them to work on their own invention projects.
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