Category Archives: Creative Problem Solving

Imogene’s Antlers

“Imogene’s Antlers

An oldie but a goodie, Imogene’s Antlers still delivers a creative, entertaining story after being published 32 years old ago.

Opening line: “On Thursday, when Imogene woke up she found she had grown antlers.”

While family and friends help to rid Imogene of her antlers, Imogene takes a different approach and uses her antlers for other purposes.

Watch for the clever story ending.

This book promotes imagination, wonder and creative problem solving.

TITLE: Imogene’s Antlers

AUTHOR: David Small

ILLUSTRATOR: David Small

PUBLISHER: Crown Publishers, 1985

AGE GROUP: 5-7

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: imagination, wonder, creative problem solving

LEARNING EXTENSIONS:

1) When you have finished reading the book, continue Imogene’s story by writing about what happens next.

2) In addition to Imogene’s creative solutions, what else could she use her antlers for? Try to think up at least five more uses.

3) If you were to discover that you woke up with an animal body part, what body part would it be, how would you react, and what could you use that additional part for?

EXTENDING CONNECTIONS:

To learn more about author/illustrator David Small, visit:

http://www.davidsmallbooks.com

Beard In A Box

Beard In A Box”

In Beard In A Box written and illustrated by Bill Cotter, a young boy wants to be just like his dad. He determines that Dad gets his awesomeness from his beard.

He needs a beard, too.

He follows the 5 step program: picks a style, plants seeds, waters, does face exercises and then… Step 5: Wait 10-15 years. UGH!!

Then things get worse when his dad shaves off his beard. Double UGH!!

In the end, Dad shows his son how to be awesome.

This book promotes imagination, humor and creativity.

TITLE: Beard In A Box

AUTHOR: Bill Cotter

ILLUSTRATOR: Bill Cotter

PUBLISHER: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016

AGE GROUP: 5-7

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, humor, imagination

LEARNING EXTENSIONS:

1)   Design a new beard style.

2) Brainstorm a list of words that you associate with awesomeness. From your list, pick one word to describe your dad and one word to describe you. Combine these two words to invent a new word. Use this new word to write an acrostic poem about your relationship with your dad. (You can also use this exercise with others that you love even your pet.)

EXTENDING CONNECTIONS:

To learn more about author/illustrator Bill Cotter, visit:

http://cotterillustration.squarespace.com

Creative Thinking Prompt: Sand Castles

Creative Thinking Prompt: Sand Castles

Whether you go to the beach or play in the sand at your local park, get ready to be inspired by these sand castles.

      

http://www.mostbeautifulthings.net/best-sand-castles/

 Image: thecreatorsproject.vice.com

 Image: www.babble.com

http://list25.com/25-of-the-most-amazing-sand-castles-ever-built/5/

Creative Thinking Prompt: Design a sand castle that serves a purpose. Who would live in your sand castle? How is your castle protected? What rooms does your castle need? Where would your castle be built? Why is your castle being built? How will your castle stay intact? Give your castle a name. Sketch your castle. Then build it!

Creative Thinking Prompt: Building with Ice Cubes

Ice is slippery. Ice is wet. Ice melts. Then how can you build with ice?

Creative Thinking Prompt: Build a structure using ice cubes, using the creative thinking strategy SCAMPER. SCAMPER was developed by Bob Eberle based upon Alex Osborn’s creating thinking questions. Alex Osborn is the originator of brainstorming.

SCAMPER

Scamper is based upon seven creative thinking principles. Each principle views your idea in a different manner. By asking questions related to each principle, Scamper gets you thinking about which areas of your idea you can improve.

S = Substitute:  Remove some part and replace it with something else.

What else can I use instead of clear water to create ice cubes?

C = Combination:  Join or force together two or more elements of your subject to develop a solution.

What things can I combine together to make a better ice cube?

What can I use to stick the cubes together?

A = Adapt:  Change some part so that it works where before it didn’t work.

What might I do to change the structure of the ice cubes to make them not melt quickly?

M = Magnify or modify:  Consider the attributes of the subject and change them. Attributes include: size, shape, other dimensions, texture, color, position, etc.

How will smaller or larger ice cubes work within my structure?

P = Put to other uses:  Think about your subject – why it exists, what it is used for, what it’s supposed to do. Then think up new and unusual purposes.           

How else can I use an ice cube?

E = Eliminate:  Remove any or all elements of the subject.

What can I remove from my structure to make it stronger and last longer?

R = Rearrange or reverse:  Look at the subject from different perspectives. Turn it upside-down, inside-out. Make it go backwards, against the direction it was intended to go or be used. Similar to Reverse, modify the order of operations or any other hierarchy involved.

What would happen if I rearrange the ice cubes in my structure?

As I used SCAMPER more questions popped into my mind.

  • How would using pop, sugar water, jello, or millk affect the structure of an ice cube?
  • Would the different ingredients make the cube stick together easier? Would it melt less?
  • What if I let the cubes melt a little and then refreeze them – would my structure “stick” together?
  • How would small and large cubes help with building my structure?
  • Is there a better way to build an ice structure?
  • What if I froze a smaller cube inside a larger cube?
  • How can I make my structure colorful?

To make glow-in-the-dark cubes, visit: http://www.learnplayimagine.com/2012/02/glow-in-dark-water-beads.html

Think Deeper: Build an ice cube arch.

The Most Magnificent Thing

“The Most Magnificent Thing

One day a girl has a wonderful idea to make the most magnificent thing. She knows how it will look and how it will work. After she makes it, it doesn’t look or work how she imagined.

She tries again and again but it still won’t work. It isn’t magnificent.

Frustrated and angry, she quits. Her trusty helper tells her to go for a walk.

When they return, she sees all the things she created. Each one better than before. That gives her an idea…

This book promotes discovery, the creative process, and risk-taking.

TITLE: The Most Magnificent Thing

AUTHOR: Ashley Spires

ILLUSTRATOR: Ashley Spires

PUBLISHER: Kids Can Press, 2014

AGE GROUP: 6-8

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: discovery, the creative process, risk-taking

LEARNING EXTENSIONS:

1) Pick an invention that interests you. What might you change to make it better? What might you add or subtract from it? Can you substitute a different part? What else can the invention be used for?

2) What do you do when you are frustrated? Do you quit, give up? Do you push forward and try again? Do you try a new approach? Tell about a time that you wanted to quit but you didn’t.

 EXTENDING CONNECTIONS:

To learn more about author/illustrator Ashley Spires, visit:

https://www.ashleyspires.com/index.html

Creative Thinking Prompt: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Creative Thinking Prompt: Use 5W1H to Make Your Goals for the New Year

What will the new year bring for you? Use 5W1H to help make a plan to achieve your 2017 goals. 5W1H, a creative thinking technique, uses questions to help define a problem and prompt creative thinking solutions. The 5Ws are who, what, where, when, and why. The 1H is how. For example, let’s say one of your goals is to become a better person.

Who are some people admire?

Why do you admire them?

What qualities do you admire about them?

Where can you express those qualities?

When can you express those qualities?

How can you express those qualities?

Now make a list of goals that you would like to achieve next year. Pick one of those goals to use 5W1H to help you clarify and achieve your goal.

Creative Thinking Prompt: Engineering Gingerbread Houses

gingerbread-house-1098731_1280

For some people, making gingerbread houses is a tradition. For others, it’s a fun party activity. Whatever your reason for constructing a gingerbread house this year, the house needs a solid foundation. Before you start building, think about these things as you begin to design.

Structure

Adhesive

Construction Materials

Assembly

Visual Appeal

Design

At Brown University, the students of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) host an annual gingerbread building contest to see whose aesthetically appealing house can withstand an earthquake shake. Competitors are given graham crackers, icing, marshmallows, gumdrops, cereal, gummy sharks and more sweets. They have one hour to build a 6 x 6 x 6 hollow house.

Creative Thinking Prompt: Experiment with Building a Gingerbread Structure

After you’ve sketched a house design, try experimenting with different types of building materials. For the outside walls – graham crackers, wafers, rice crackers, multi-grain crackers, thin cookies. For the “adhesive” – marshmallows, marshmallow fluff, different types of frosting, royal icing, melted gummy bears. Which materials worked best?

Once you’ve constructed your building and added decorations, try shaking it to see if it would withstand a quake. Which structure/design worked best?

To learn more about SWE’s contest, view:

http://www.browndailyherald.com/2016/12/04/students-compete-extreme-gingerbread-house/

To inspire you, view some beautiful gingerbread buildings at:

http://art-now-and-then.blogspot.com/2015/11/gingerbread-architecture.html

Creative Thinking Prompt: Snow Artist Simon Beck

snowartsimonbeck

Simon Beck Snow Art

12-2-16 Creative Thinking Prompt: Snow Artist Simon Beck

With an engineering background and a keen sense of direction, snowshoe-cladded Simon Beck treks through the snow creating awe-inspiring geometric art.

In this six minute video, watch Beck work and discover what inspires his designs. https://vimeo.com/155292692

Creative Thinking Prompt: Design a geometric image. First sketch it on paper, then draw it in fresh snow or in sand.

To learn more about Simon Beck, visit:

http://snowart.gallery/about_Simon_Beck.php

To view more of Simon Beck’s snow art, visit:

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2016/01/simon-beck-snow-art/

Making Origami Science Experiments

origamiscience

Use origami (paper folding) to perform scientific experiments and test hypotheses. From a dish soap racing boat to a table kite to a fan, readers practice origami folds to test science concepts such as surface tension, water molecules, air resistance, gravity and mass.

origamisciencepage

This story promotes creative problem solving, wonder, discovery and combination.

TITLE: Making Origami Science Experiments Step by Step

AUTHOR: Michael G. LaFosse

ILLUSTRATOR: Michael G. LaFosse

PUBLISHER: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2004

AGE GROUP: 6-9

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creative problem solving, wonder, discovery, combination.

LEARNING EXTENSIONS:

1) A hypothesis is a guess. Develop a hypothesis that you’d like to test. Then design an experiment to prove or disprove your hypothesis. After you’ve completed your experiment, what new questions do you have? Will you create a new hypothesis?

2) Fold a piece of paper. Smaller and smaller… How many times can you fold the paper? Could this folding go on indefinitely or will it stop?

3) To create origami art, visit this link: http://www.origami-instructions.com

EXTENDING CONNECTIONS:

To learn more about author/illustrator Michael G. LaFosse, visit: http://www.origamido.com

Creative Thinking Prompt: On The Spot Inventions

 recyclingbin tree_PNG3498-2
Creative Thinking Prompt: On The Spot Inventions

1) Collect 5-10 items from your recycling bin. Make sure the items are clean.

2) Take a walk around your home, collecting 5 nature items. Don’t pluck any living plants or animals.

3) Gather items that attach such as glue, paper clips, rubber bands, tape, etc.

4) Spread out all your items so you can observe them. Write down your observations that intrigue you or cause you to wonder.

5) Combine nature and recycled items together to form a new invention. Like a puzzle, imagine these items fitting together. Sketch how these items might go together.

6) Take your chosen items and begin putting them together. You may notice that they don’t fit like you thought they would. That’s okay. Try something else. Imagine something else.

7) Inventions serve a purpose. What is the purpose of your invention? What can it do?

For more ideas on inventing, visit Scholastic:

http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/thinking-skills-learning-styles/lets-invent-something-together