Creativity Lesson: What if?

Suggested Books (paid link)

*This lesson coincides with Chapter 4, Be Practical, from a Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech.

Lesson written by: Doug Whisler and Andrew Tiscareno

Grade level range: 3-8

Length of time to teach lesson: 20-30 minutes

Overview of lesson:  Students play the “What If” board game that’s scaffolded, ultimately leading them to find the value of the activity. They roll the die to advance and complete the task on their square.

Objectives (learning targets) of this lesson:  Through playing a game, the students will be able to explain how the “What If” concept is beneficial in the classroom and how it can increase a student’s depth of knowledge.

Supplies: Game board, game pieces, die

Step-by-step teaching instructions:

    Make sure to provide some exemplars of deep "what if" questions.  For example – what if there was no subtract button on calculators, or what if players had to play basketball blindfolded? *You can also share questions from "what if" children's books.*

1)  Roll the die to move (a dice with the numbers 1-3 only works well)
2)  Complete the task on the square
3)  Go back and forth between partners
4)  Repeat

Special Notes from the creator of this lesson:  For a student to answer deep “what if” questions, such as, what if Abraham Lincoln wasn’t assassinated, means that they have to have deep content knowledge to say what did happen and how different causes could bring unusual effects.

Assessment: The rubric can be used for both the game itself and for any "What If" questions, evaluating how many ideas the students came up with, how many different perspectives they used, and how plausible/related their answers are.


Book Cover

Help Wanted on
Mont Vernon
This book combines history
and mathematics with
adorable characters to teach
kids about the many talents
of the first U.S. President.

Book Cover

The UnderAchievers:
Woven into a fun story, this
book provides excellent
math lessons for kids.  

Writing Across the Curriculum:
The NumberFix Project


Book Cover

 Wacky We-Search Reports:
A popular book on writing
across the curriculum.