A Game called ‘Uses For’
This is probably not something Professors can use class time for, however it is a basic example of a brainstorming, creativity technique that might help your students to learn to think outside of the box. If students learn to think more openly and creatively they are likely to make more lasting connections between things they learn, see and experience. This can only improve memory and performance, not to mention interest. So share this with them and even suggest they try it at the beginning of a study group session, or their own studying. Or they can refresh their thinking in the middle of studying with this exercise. And of course you could do it yourself… or at the beginning of a faculty meeting!
Choose one of the items below and think of at least 25 original uses for it. (That is, you cannot list things that the item is already used for.) The uses can be fanciful, but should at least approach practicality. Describe each use in a sentence or two.
Uses for a steak knife.
1. Drill a hole in the tip and use it as a “knife switch” to turn electricity on and off.
2. Use the wood or plastic handles of two or three to make a hot pad for serving casseroles or soup in hot containers.
3. Use it to measure a spot for a new sofa, so when you go to the store you will know how many “steak knife units” long your new sofa can be.
4. Use it to drill holes in plasterboard walls.
a cardboard box
a sheet of paper
a roll of adding machine paper
a ball point pen
the yellow pages
an inner tube
three feet of Scotch tape
a plastic drinking glass
ball bearings that aren’t round
worn out automobile tires
non-returnable soda bottles
tons of broken rubber bands
I got this idea and list from Virtual Salt: