So, first to support the knowledge! Our kids have been tinkering with LittleBits© for 3 weeks now, learning all the modules and experimenting with combinations. After a brief review, we put that knowledge to the test by giving them problems to solve – a kickstart to imagination. Problems offer fertile contexts for creative thinking.
Our colleagues acted as “customers” with everyday problems – seeking advice from our creative team of inventors! The kids had to decipher what they knew in order to support what they thought. In this way knowledge provides the scaffolding needed to promote imaginative thinking. The kids took what they knew about the problem, LittleBits© as well as their own personal experiences, and transformed that into creative solutions! To visualize the process we gave each group a worksheet to fill out as they listened to the customer’s problems (e.g. I trip in the hallway at night time but will wake people up if I turn the lights on).
The kids were motivated by the challenge. "We have real customers! They want our help?!" And charged with the perceived responsibility came a clear change in attitude... a realization that they were the experts.
For many of our kids who have a poor tolerance for frustration and challenges in general, this willingness to try, and try once more armed with basic problem solving (aka innovative) skills is a huge step - one that will optimize all their future creative, social and academic endeavors.
To learn more check out: profiles.stanford.edu/tina-seelig