Growing up in the public school system, I noticed that studies became very compartmentalized and creative applications were specifically reserved for students in outside programs or who were pursuing a career entailing those applications. This continues to cause many students who are unaccustomed with creative expression to believe that they are not inherently creative and therefore cannot be creative, simply due to a lack of opportunity. My intention for my capstone was to refresh students with creative applications of building to increase confidence in student’s ideas and push them to think outside the box through fun building challenges. I created an initial survey to understand student’s notions about creativity and leadership. I then advertised for a club meeting by creating posters and hanging them in the school. I created a series of three prompts where teams of approximately 5 students had to work under time constraints and with limited household materials to build a tower, weight-bearing bridge, and ball transport system. The activities were designed to be fun and low stress, but engaged participants with their competitive side. I learned about the challenges of taking a coaching role versus my typical teammate role in encouraging and offering constructive but elusive feedback. I was able to improve my own creative skills by brainstorming possible solutions to decide appropriate materials for them to use. Each of these challenges pushed the participants to question traditional methods and instead search for loopholes.
Barras, Colin. “Future - Can You Learn to Be Creative?” BBC News. March 14, 2014. Accessed January 30, 2019. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140314-learn-to-be-creative. This article analyses studies on teaching and learning creativity and takes the stance that creativity should be salvaged through teaching. Levels of creativity are being crushed in school age children due to to the increase of importance of standardized test scores and creativity is currently only being truly taught at a university level when it may be too late. This article explores nontraditional methods and courses that foster creativity as its importance re-emerges in the workforce. I will use these findings as a driving force in my own work to re-integrate creativity into the minds of young people.
Creative Competitions. Scoring for Spontaneous. PDF. Glassboro: Creative Competitions, Inc., 2010. This score sheet offers two categories: Creativity and Teamwork. The creativity score sheet specifies how to be elusive when stating the problem so one solution is not encouraged by the language of the problem. Although I will not be using numerical values to assess my club’s solutions, I can assess their creativity on this scale to offer feedback. The teamwork score sheet describes a range of optimal cooperation and collaboration to team domination and dissonance. This document will help me encourage good team dynamics and help me recognize issues within the group.
Destination Imagination. Four Free Instant Challenges. PDF. Cherry Hill: Destination Imagination, Inc., 2014. This source is intended for teams to use in preparation for the “instant challenge” portion of the competition. It offers four prompts, two of which are Hands-On and include materials, setup, and possible scoring. I will use these prompts as a basis for my own and especially the materials and setup to acquire their counterparts for my own original problems. These example problems spark my ability as they demonstrate extensions of very basic prompts, such as requiring that an otherwise basic tower must touch four separate taped off sections of floor. These give me a basis of steps I can take to make my own work more complex.
DiscoverDesign Staff. “Design Process.” DiscoverDesign. 2018. Accessed February 04, 2019. https://www.discoverdesign.org/handbook. This article explains the six steps of the engineering design process. It offers a short description of each step and basic applications. I will use this process to design the optimal solutions to my prompts. The most important part that is not included in Odyssey of the Mind style prompts is the final two steps of Feedback and Improve. This process will serve as a reminder to integrate those steps as they are important to SLA’s core values and curriculum and their integration will help students apply their skills.
Kouzes, James M., and Barry Z. Posner. The Leadership Challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1987. This source is a book demonstrating the five practices of leadership, those being Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. The first chapter of this book focuses on two interviews that demonstrate struggles to lead and tactics that helped manage a group, one being Lindsay Levin of White’s Vehicle Repair and Ted Turner of Turner Broadcasting System. Levin’s exemplary leadership is characterized by gaining small successes as a team to build trust in the team, committing to teaching strategies to members, and recognizing success through awards. She also speaks of a technique of “zapping vs sapping,” where the leader boosts a member’s motivation by recognizing good work. Turner had success with leadership by encouraging risk-taking creativity and creating a company store to increase exclusivity and pride. While my project will be less run like a company and not commercial product driven, I will use these techniques on a small scale in running a club of members that must work as a team each meeting.
Llove. Hands-On Problem: The Strongest Link. PDF. Virginia: Odyssey of the Mind, 2006. This source offers an Odyssey of the Mind-style, hands-on, spontaneous problem involving two parts. They entails creating a chain on which a cup full of weights are held. This problem demonstrates the difficulty factor of having one time period to build and a second to alter or challenge the structure. I will use this problem as a basis to create two part problems where added complexities challenge teams after their initial build to extend their creativity. I can also use the model of a bridge-like problem as the underlying build challenge.
Mandel, Brett. “Coaching Spontaneous.” Interview by author. February 2019. The interviewee is my Odyssey of the Mind coach. He was a participant of the program in his youth and has been coaching Odyssey of the Mind for about a decade. I will use this interview to understand his experience coaching students who are high school aged in a problem solving context. I will ask questions about how to give constructive feedback during short creativity prompts and how to make sure students are listening to each other’s ideas. He will also have good ideas about where to get materials for hands-on problems.
Micklus, C. S., and Samuel W. Micklus. Lots of Problems, Many Solutions. Sewell, NJ: Creative Competitions, 2007. This book serves as an introduction to the Odyssey of the Mind program and offers many official verbal and hands-on spontaneous prompts. The introduction gives an overview of creative problem solving, and I will use these concepts to understand the basis and apply it to my club. I will use later chapters to base my original problems off of. The most useful piece of information this book offers is a detailed site setup, which is very important to solving the prompt.
Nelson, Robert. “Why It Is (Almost) Impossible to Teach Creativity.” The Conversation. January 09, 2019. Accessed January 31, 2019. http://theconversation.com/why-it-is-almost-impossible-to-teach-creativity-105659. This article from an independent not-for-profit organization presents a controversial and cynical view on creativity to a wide and unspecified audience. It presents problem solving as a lesser application of creativity as problems serve as an anxious place. I will use this view to dispute the stressful or limited applications of creativity through making my problems have more than just one feasible solution. I will offer opportunity for creative growth by rewarding risk-taking even if a solution fails. This club is meant to become a space for students to exercise creativity, not to place a stressor on specific solutions.
Perkins, T., J. Otte, and S. Riggs. The “Unofficial” On-line Coaches’ Training. PPT. Glassboro: Odyssey of the Mind, 2013. This presentation begins to prep outsiders on how to coach teams specifically for the Odyssey of the Mind competition and season. It covers the principle of divergent vs convergent problem solving and promotes the concept that divergent problem solving allows students to take creative measures and calculated risks in their solution. The source also states the responsibility of the coach to lead by asking questions. I will use this technique when coaching my club,asking constructive questions to allow students to work among themselves without the guidance of concrete answers that would lead them un-creatively to the solution. The presentation also places an emphasis on only allowing constructive criticism between teammates, which is another sentiment I will utilize.