*This lesson coincides with Chapter 4, Be Practical, from A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech.
Lesson written by: Susan Lowther and Sarah Csiga
Grade level range: 3-8+
Objectives: To get students to think of new ideas to solve problems without being constrained by practicality. Get students to start with the biggest idea, and use this idea as a stepping stone to come up with the best solution.
Step-by-step teaching instructions:
1. Have the students pick one of the Big Idea cards that have questions on the back.
2. Give students a few minutes to brainstorm their own ideas on their “What if” maps. Encourage them to come up with as many creative ideas as possible. Remind them to write down every seemingly crazy idea they can think of.
3. Have students come back together and share their ideas with a partner. Each student will listen to the ideas and say one positive thing about each idea their partner comes up with.
4. After both students have shared their ideas and made comments, have the partners discuss which ideas are the most practical for the real world and which idea may be a good stepping stone idea to get to a solution.
5. This lesson also lends itself to Depth and Complexity Icons (copyright Sandra Kaplan: http://giftedcalifornia.org/depth_complexity.php ) lessons depending on what question is asked and how the students chose to answer the questions. For instance the question “How can Native Americans keep their culture alive in today’s society” could lead to the Ethics Icon questions involving ideas of what dilemmas or controversies are involved in this question, what bias, prejudice, or discrimination might come from this idea?
Assessment: Rubric can be used for teacher assessment of for students to assess themselves or one another.