Creativity Lesson: That's Not My Area

*This lesson coincides with Chapter 6, That’s Not My Area, from A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech.

Suggested Books (paid link)

Lesson written by: Katrina Trautwein and Laura Ricks

Grade Level: 3-12

Length of time to teach the lesson: 20-40 minutes

Supplies:   1 box or bag, 7 supplies with specific uses for each partnership, 1 stopwatch

Lesson Objective: Students will learn the importance of flexible thinking

Step by step lesson instructions:

1. Explain to students what it means to have flexible and inflexible thinking.  Read examples of how inventors and entrepreneurs were able to think of different uses for items and consequently created some of our most famous inventions in Whack on the Side of the Head, part 6.

2. Give each set of partners a box/bag of 7 different items that have specific purposes. Tell students that they will be pulling out items from the box/bag one at a time.  Explain the following rules and tell students that they will be timed.

3. One student will pull an item out of the box and think and tell of a unique use for the item.  For example:  A feather duster could be an updated Roman soldiers helmet topper.

4. The student will pass the item to their partner and that partner will come up with a different unique use for the same item.  This will continue until 7 different uses have been named.

5. Then the first student will pull a new item out of the bag and the process will continue until there are no more items in the box/bag.

6. Whole class discussion to review: What happened? So what? What now?  How can this help us in the classroom?  In life?

Exploration:  Have students write up 5 or 10 uses for any object on a journal page following the book "41 Uses for a Grandma":    To see great examples of this or if you need directions on the lesson, click here:

Assessment: Use rubric on flexibility on ideas generated which can be used to discuss the outcomes of the activity or on the optional journal page. 

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