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Creative Problem Solving

Kick-start your students' creativity by asking them to brainstorm and problem-solve. In this two-part exploration, students are challenged to think about materials and solutions in a variety of ways.

This is a recommended post-visit activity to Science World at TELUS World of Science.

Objectives

  • Create, evaluate, and test solutions to a problem.

Materials

  • 1 brick

    Per Group of 2–4 students:

    milk bottle (or any bottle with a wide mouth)
    drinking straws

Key Questions

  • How could this brick be used at school? At home? Could you use this brick instead of something else?

What To Do

Part 1: Practice brainstorming

  1. Pose the question to your students: what can this brick be used for? 
  2. Challenge the class to come up with 50 uses for the brick.
  3. Accept and record everyone’s ideas, even if they are wacky or impractical. 

Part 2: Solve a problem

  1. Pose the question to your students: can you lift the bottle using only one drinking straw? Only the straw may touch the bottle although you may hold the straw. 
  2. Give your students plenty of time to think about this problem, and plenty of straws to test. 

Extensions

  • Keep a milk bottle and straws at the side of your room or on your desk for a week to encourage further creative problem solving.

Other Resources

Five Minute Mysteries (series of puzzle books) by Ken Weber
Enigma or The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base