Collaborate and be Creative!

Suggested Books (paid link)

Essential Questions for students (objectives): How can we build our collaboration skills while practicing the four creativity skills: fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaborateness?

Supplies: Color prints of pictures (or files sent to student groups), web access for research

NAGC: 3.4, 21st Century skills: Collaboration 
Instructional Format: Small group discussions, class discussion, computer research

Vocabulary for a Word Wall: fluency, flexibility, originality, elaborateness

Lesson description: 

1) Put students into groups of 3 or 4.  Discuss “accountable” talk and the idea of consensus.  I always use the rules for brainstorming – there are no bad ideas or limits and that you must honor each person’s ideas. 

2) Give each group one photo of a mysterious object.  Give the students individual quiet time to generate their own possible ideas and jot them down before the group discusses.  Remind the students about FOFE and they can focus on a particular creativity skill while brainstorming or just let their brains go nuts!!

3) Ask the groups to come up with an idea or multiple ideas about the object that they are looking at in the picture.  What does it do?  Where is it used?  Have each group present their picture and idea to the class.  (I don’t mind if students get silly just as long as they respect the collaboration norms of the group and class)  Here is a Power point of all the pictures so that the whole class can view the pictures as they are discussed.

4) I love building suspense by asking them if they want to know what the objects original purpose?  However, I do like to remind them that their idea may be incredibly viable, after all, the Gutenberg printing press was originally designed for crushing grapes!   I actually photographed each item at the Museo Galileo in Florence Italy.  I was completely tickled looking at the objects first and then reading their purpose – never would have predicted what they were! 

5) Direct students to the virtual tour of the museum and the alphabetic list of objects (if you hover over the names a picture of the object comes up).  I like to have the students look through all the items to find theirs!  Kooky stuff in that museum – all math, science, and technology.  If they click on their item, a wonderful description appears explaining the purpose:

6) Have the students discuss – how close was the purpose they imagined?  What surprised them the most?  What do they wonder? 

7) This discussion is the perfect segue into asking students to work together, honor one another’s ideas, look at things in a different way, there is no one way to think about any concept, and stay inquisitive!  For extensions, I like to use Ian Byrd’s monthly puzzlements for older students and wonderopolis for younger students.

Prior activity:  Introduce the four areas of creativity (FOFE) with either a Torrance creativity test or using another lesson.
Time needed:  20 min – 60 min

Related websites: (puzzlements of the month), (wonder of the day for younger students)

Related books:  Check out Richard Cash’s book with great ideas for building the four areas of creativity (FOFE)!

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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.

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

Writing Across the Curriculum:
The NumberFix Project


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