Divergent Thinking 

 August 2, 2013

By  Oak Norton

Divergent thinking - paper clips

Optional Preparation: If you have a paperclip handy, bring it to the table.

When our oldest daughter was about 4 years old, my wife caught her drawing on the kitchen floor with crayons. My wife said, “Savanna! What are you doing?” Savanna replied in the 3rd person, “the little girl was drawing on the floor.” My wife said, “well, the little girl is going to get a timeout.” Savanna stood up, held out her hand as if she was taking an invisible person by the arm, and walked back to her room and shut the door. My wife quickly called to tell me what had happened, and while chuckling about it, Savanna came out of her room. My wife was surprised and said, “what are you doing?” Savanna replied, “The little girl is in timeout.”

Children have amazing imaginations. Buckminster Fuller made an important observation about the education system over 40 years ago. He said, “All children are born geniuses and we spend the first six years of their lives degeniusing them.” Longitudinal studies bear this out. While 98% of kindergarten children score in the genius range for divergent thinking, 5 years later children score around the 50% mark and it continues to deteriorate with more formal education.

Discuss: According to Sir Ken Robinson, people skilled in something called divergent thinking can come up with about 200 different uses for a paper clip. As a family, see how many uses for a paperclip you can come up with. To get you started, you can clip papers together with it… :)

(Featured Image by Sergey Kolesnikov @123rf.com)

Oak Norton

Father of 5 children, husband to 1 amazingly patient woman, entrepreneur, and education advocate.

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