Creativity Lesson: Avoid Ambiguity

*This lesson coincides with Chapter 8, Avoid Ambiguity, from A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech.


Suggested Books (paid link)


Lesson written by: Lyndsay Evans and Jaci Martin

Grade range: 3-8

Summary:  Finding items and connecting them to each other in a different way while connecting them to learning.

Objectives (Learning targets) of this lesson:  How do humans affect the environment?

Supplies: magazines, dice, sticky notes, rubric

Step by step lesson instructions:

1. Roll the dice and turn to that page in the magazine.  Pick an item on that page.  Use 5-7 sticky notes to write down thoughts on that item.

2. With a partner, categorize the sticky notes.  Pick a category and discuss how they connect.  What are the similarities?  What are the differences?

3. Alternative options for using the categorizing:  ask students to add more sticky notes to their determined categories, re-categorize (find other connections).

4. Using a selected category and the sticky notes involved, answer the big question: how do humans affect the environment?

Notes from the lesson creator:  This type of activity leads to exploring depth and complexity of content.  The depth and complexity icons that connect well are change over time, patterns, and multiple perspectives.  For more information on depth and complexity see Dr. Kaplan’s work at

Assessment:  Students can assess themselves and ideas of other students using this rubric.


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