Sunday, June 23, 2013

Creativity and Critical Thinking

A friend of mine is a big fan of the Maker Faire. The first time he told me about it, I couldn't quite get my head around the idea. But now I've got it. As their website says, it's a "family friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness."

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And in the spirit of the Maker Faire, I present a creativity and critical thinking unit for elementary students. This pack of goodies contains eight cards each from eight popular primary themes: pets, transportation, school, ocean animals, nature, shapes, farm, and creepy crawlies. Just print the files and cut into individual cards (there are four per page.) Then give your students a set or two of cards and some materials to build with, and let them go!

Making a school bus out of Lincoln Logs or a caterpillar out of Legos or a cat out of blocks or a backpack out of play dough? All are challenging activities that will require creativity, resourcefulness, and problem-solving skills! It's harder than you might think! Students can work independently or you can challenge small groups to work together. If you want to increase the difficulty, set a timer or have them work without talking!

Some students are uncomfortable at first with the idea of trying to build an animal out of blocks or a teacher out of Tinker Toys. But once they gain a little experience, they love this activity and it becomes easier.

These cards are great to use during small group center time, if you have it. They also work really well for rainy day recess!

My class last year? ALL future inventors! They've had lots of practice!

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