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Creative Activities for the Sciences Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #:AELP-SPS0001
Submitted by: Barbara Stein Ritchie, Fremon School, Riverton, WY
Endorsed by: These lesson plans are the result of the work of the teachers who have attended the Columbia Education Center’s Summer Workshop. CEC is a consortium of teacher from 14 western states dedicated to improving the quality of education in the rural, western, United States, and particularly the quality of math and science Education. CEC uses Big Sky Telegraph as the hub of their telecommunications network that allows the participating teachers to stay in contact with their trainers and peers that they have met at the Workshops. Date: May 1994

Grade Level(s): All


  • Science/Process Skills

Overview: Probably the most important aspect of teaching for creative growth is raising students’ creativity consciousness. That is, students must:

  • Become more aware of creativity in general
  • Value flexible and original thinking
  • Become more receptive to creative (even wild) ideas
  • Become willing to think in a creative fashion
  • Become willing to involve themselves in creative activities
  • The most important aspect of becoming more creative – acquiring a creative consciousness – is also the easiest to teach. Creative attitudes and predispositions will be a natural by-product of virtually any classroom effort to teach for creative thinking, particularly if there is an emphasis on raising awareness and improving student’s understanding of creative thinking.


    The purpose of this endeavor is to provide three activities related to the sciences that will provide opportunity for creative growth in students of all age groups. Raw knowledge is important in science. But if a student has no imagination to find the answers, what good will come of it? As Einstein said, Imagination is more important than knowledge.

    Resources/Materials Needed: There is almost no end to the resources available when dealing with creativity. Resources mentioned in this article are organized below.


      Odyssey of the Mind
      P.O. Box 27
      Glassboro, NJ 08029


      Creativity With Bill Moyers
      The Corporation For Entertainment and Learning, Inc.
      515 Madison Avenue,
      New York, NY 10022 Why Man Creates
      Pyramid Films
      Box 1048
      Santa Monica, CA 90406


    As teachers, it is our responsibility to provide opportunities for our students to develop their creative skills. We should structure our teacher planning so there is a balance of learning for students – a combination of basic knowledge consumption and a time for creative learning. The following activities have been successfully tried in classrooms and can be stepping stones to your own creative curriculum creations.

  • The twenty-five minute film Why Man Creates by Saul Bass and Associates is appropriate for elementary through adult viewers. This film is itself a beautiful example of creativity at work. With high humor and a playful touch, it portrays some very important truths. Why Man Creates can be stimulating and enjoyable for a very broad spectrum of ages and conditions of people. In the sciences, the film shows particularly how imagination can be the key to solving problems. An excellent discussion guide accompanies the film.
  • Creativity With Bill Moyers is a sixteen part P.B.S. documentary series. The programs, while varying in subject and techniques, are all thought-provoking, imaginative and superbly produced. It is an excellent, exciting educational resource for secondary or college level students. The thirty minute programs dealing with the sciences are:
    • Olympics of the Mind
    • The Inventors
    • NCAR: National Center for Atmospheric Research
    • That’s No Tomato – That’s a Work of Art
    • Garbage – A New Way of Seeing

    The teaching/learning possibilities inherent in the Creativity series are limitless. While this series is of such outstanding content and quality that these programs can be used by themselves, their educational value is enhanced by detailed curriculum guides.

  • The Odyssey of the Mind program promotes divergent thinking in students from kindergarten through college. This program offers students a unique opportunity to participate in challenging and motivating activities both inside and outside their regular classroom curriculum. Students learn to work with others as a team. They develop self-confidence by creating solutions, evaluating ideas and making final decisions. They develop their creative skills through problem solving and independent thinking. Problems to be solved consist of both a long-term and are solved over a period of months. Whereas the spontaneous problems usually take a few minutes to solve. Spontaneous problems can be verbal or hands-on. Examples of long-term problems are:
    • Building balsa wood structures to specifications to see how much weight can be held
    • Designing, building and driving a spring-powered vehicle

    Examples of spontaneous problems are:

    • Hunters seek game animals – Name other kinds of hunters and what it is that they hunt
    • Name as many kinds of brushes as you can
    • Move an egg with the implements given through a series of obstacles
  • Tying it all Together:

    Students need an environment and life experiences that facilitate creativity. We, as educators, need to promote an atmosphere that will allow our students the freedom to be creative. Perhaps the next Galileo, DiVinci, or Einstein is in your classroom. Provide time for discovery and hands-on activities; for provocative questioning; for aesthetic experiences; for daydreaming and fantasizing; for quiet reflection and time to play. And, of course, encourage an atmosphere that instills self-expression, laughter and humor. You have been given many ideas and resources that will allow you to introduce creativity awareness in your classroom. Choose what will work for you in your situation. Remember also that you should serve as a creative model for your students. Learn to be creative yourself. Always read, write, think, imagine, do, feel, and just be yourself.