Creative Thinking Prompt: Invention Inspired by Nature
What do owls and humpback whales have in common?
Wind turbine blades!
Researchers Ian Clark, William N. Alexander, William J. Devenport, Stewart A. Glegg, Justin Jaworski, Conor Daly, and Nigel Peake looked at an owl’s silent predatory flight for inspiration to reduce the amount of noise that wind blades emitted. They noticed tiny hairs that look like fringe stuck up on wing feathers, which smoothed the air flow into a neat stream. After creating a 3D printed plastic coating that mimics the owl’s feather structure and applying it to the blade, turbine noise was reduced by fifty percent.
Biologist Frank Fish noticed bumps running along the fins on a humpback whale. Fish studied and discovered that these bumps create small vortices that help the fin cut through water. By developing a bumpy edge to a turbine blade, noise is reduced and efficiency increased. This is now known as the turbercle effect.
Edge of a prototype wind turbine blade – Whalepower Corporation
Creative Thinking Prompt: How might an owl or whale influence you to redesign or create a new common household item like a spoon, lawn mower, or bike?
©Chul Hyun Ahn
Creative Thinking Prompt: Infinite Space Defined
How do you define space? How might you show (represent) space?
South Korean artist Chul Hyun Ahn enjoys exploring how to define infinite space through his art. He creates portal-looking sculptures using light, mirrors, color and illusion.
Images©Chul Hyun Ahn
Think Deeper: Ponder this – If something is infinite, does it have a center point?
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
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?
To learn more about author/illustrator David Small, visit: