*This Lesson coincides with chapter 4 – Be Practical from Whack on The Side Of The Head by Roger von Oech.
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Lesson created by Chris Hankins
Grade level range: 4-12
Length of time to teach lesson: 15+ minutes
Overview of lesson: The lesson is to ask students "what if" questions that they are not usually asked to get them to critically think about things that are out of the box. Students are to be asked base-line questions about life and then move into questions about mathematics that would make them think how would it actually work in today’s society. The main goal is to get them to think outside the box and have them come up with ideas in this “what if” lesson.
Objectives (Learning targets) of this lesson: To get students to think about “what if” questions that are out of the box and guide them into more critical thinking instead of a couple-word answer. We want to get them to really explain what they are trying to convey.
Resources/supplies/handouts needed to teach this lesson: Laptop with the questions on a word document for the teacher to record the answers.
Instructions for teaching this lesson:
Teacher will sit down with student and ask them about what they think about critical thinking and “what if” questions in general.
Teacher will then start to ask students about the “what if” questions that are base-line to get the thinking “outside the box” and teacher will record their answers on the paper.
Possible questions: If people didn’t sleep, how would that change what you do compared to your normal life? What if animals became more intelligent than human beings?
The main lesson point is the question “What if numbers never existed-what do you think life would be like?” In your content area you could use Sandra Kaplan’s depth and complexity task cards.
Teacher will then record the answers and compare all 19 responses to see which ones are the same and then have a group discussion after about the ones that stand out the most.
Assessment: Do not let the students answer in one or two words, really get then to get out of their comfort zone and get them to think, if this happened, what then? Provide this rubric to students, so they are aware of the expectations that their answers need to be fully developed.