Six Videos to Spark Creative Thinking

Limitations and challenges can be frustrating. However, they can also be the creative constraint that leads to problem-solving and divergent thinking. Over the years, I’ve learned that students love challenges that they find engaging, intriguing and meaningful. Some of these are practical and real-world. Others are fantastical and require a bold imagination.

I want to see schools become bastions of creativity and wonder and I think that creative thinking challenges are a part of the solution. So, I’ve decided to share a weekly creative thinking challenge every Thursday. Some of these will require design thinking. Some of them will be maker projects. Others will focus on building divergent thinking. Some will fit in with STEM and others will incorporate creativity into language arts or social studies.

I believe creativity isn’t limited to any one subject area or domain. I don’t think it fits in with just one model or framework. So, here’s where I’m showing my work and sharing what I’ve come up with. These work great as snow day activities, as optional extensions, as enrichment, or as guiding concepts for larger design thinking projects.

If you find these useful, please sign up to get each challenge sent to your inbox each week. If you want to show some love, please share the videos on social media, subscribe to the channel, and click “like” on the videos.

Here’s a sample of the creative thinking challenges:

#1: Design the Ultimate Tiny House

This is based upon a similar design thinking project I did with students in a math block. Students were able to practice and connect problem-solving, proportional thinking, volume and surface area; along with budgeting and finance.

#2: Invent a Creature That Lives in a Volcano

This science-related creative challenge allowed students to make sense out of the basic ideas of biology and adaptations. Unlike the last one, this project doesn’t rely on a multi-day design thinking framework.

#3: Invent a Sport Played with These Objects

This is a great introduction into design thinking and a fun ice breaker for the first week of school. You can actually get the entire unit by signing up for the Design Thinking Toolkit.

#4: Design a School on Mars

Thousands of students have been doing this one for the last few weeks in our Mars Challenge competition. You can download the full curriculum here.

#5: Design the Ultimate Roller Coaster

This is another STEM-related design thinking challenge, but it incorporates the research and informational writing standards found in language arts.

#6: Invent Your Own Superhero

This was one of my first sketchy videos. Unlike the past examples, this one is designed specifically to inspire creative thinking in writing and language arts.


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John Spencer

My goal is simple. I want to make something each day. Sometimes I make things. Sometimes I make a difference. On a good day, I get to do both.

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One response

  1. I would love to fill out the form to receive the Design Thinking projects every Thursday, but there is no link to the form. It may just be my computer, but the space is just empty white background. Could you please sign me up? I teach high school art and my students are going to love these challenges you made for them! Thank you kindly.

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