Problem Solving and Justification

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THE THINKER’S KEYS

1. The REVERSE
Place words such as cannot, never and not in sentences which are commonly displayed in a listing format. THE JUSTIFICATION:
Students are too often required to regurgitate endless lists of facts. Moving in the opposite direction still requires a sound knowledge base, but it forces students to think. THE EXAMPLE:

Name 10 things that you could not clean.
List 5 sounds that you have never heard.
Name 10 things that you could not photograph.
2. The WHAT IF
You can ask virtually any What If question. They can be either serious or frivolous. One excellent means of displaying ideas from this key is to draw up an Ideas Wheel. THE JUSTIFICATION:

Great for introducing an area of study, and for tapping into the students’ knowledge base. It also generates loads of innovative ideas. THE EXAMPLE:
1. What if the price of petrol was immediately doubled? 2. What if all cars turned into skateboards?

Now construct an Ideas Wheel. Place the base statement in the middle circle, and put 5 consequences of that event in the 5 outer circles. Then deal with each of the 5 outer circles in turn. Put 3 consequences of each of these into the smaller circles.

3. The DISADVANTAGES
Choose an object, eg an umbrella, or a practice, eg playground duty, and list a number of its disadvantages. Then list some ways of correcting, or eliminating these disadvantages. THE JUSTIFICATION:

We often accept the inadequacies of many products, without really considering how they can be improved. Practice this key and you will be amazed at the number of everyday products which can be further developed.

THE EXAMPLE:
An Umbrella:
The Disadvantages The Improvements
The sharp sections can poke you in the eye. Glue flat erasers onto the end of each one. They take up too much room, even when folded.Develop a series of locking hinges along the length of the umbrella. Water drips onto your shoes. Attach an overhanging plastic sheet to the edges of the umbrella.

4. The COMBINATION
List the attributes of 2 dissimilar objects (one within your area of study, one outside), then combine the attributes into a single object. THE JUSTIFICATION:
Many important inventions, such as the disposable razor (the concept of loading bullets into a rifle, combined with a normal razor) and the first printing press (the wine press and the coin punch) were created in this way. THE EXAMPLE:

A leaf and a mousetrap.
The Leaf The Mousetrap
They change colours through the year. They are made of wood and wire
Insects often eat them. They can kill mice.
There are millions of them. They can be left in lots of places.

THE COMBINATIONS:
1. A miniature mousetrap for placing on leaves, that can kill insects when they try to eat the leaf. 2. Mousetraps that can change colour and blend in with the surface on which they are placed.

5. The B A R
The following acronym, or ladder of words, can be used by different age groups (ranging from Yr 1 to adults) to reinvent or redesign everyday objects. THE JUSTIFICATION:
A practical step-by-step strategy for developing innovative and highly unusual products. This type of strategy is often used in today’s hightech product development laboratories to create new products for the market. The Ladder is:

BiggerAddReplace
THE EXAMPLE:
B A R a skateboard. Ask the students to draw a standard skateboard, and then direct them through the steps one at a time. Here's one series of possibilities:
B igger Extend the rear of the skateboard, making it much bigger,...
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