Science, Education, and Science Education

classroom applications
February 18th, 2013 by Luann

Creativity and Science, Part 3

From Learning and the Brain Conference, Day 2, Friday.

Souls of Pe bring water for purification.

It’s pretty clear to me, perhaps because I’m looking for it, that however one views creativity, one has to know something to be creative in a productive sense. Rigorous content is part of most models of PBL and creativity models. I’m not sure this is obvious to everyone, though. I’ve always known that before kids can create productively, they have to know something. Granted, some world problems appear to be solvable on the surface by 6th graders playing with plastic cups and sand models of water purification systems, and 6th graders should play with these things. At some point, however, rigor and expectations need to stretch. How can this be done?

It’s my take that both project-based learning and problem-based learning, done well, could do this. Both require a huge amount of front-end planning for the teacher to properly scaffold content and build in opportunities for analysis and application of new skills and learning. I’m currently working on my first really carefully planned project-based learning, hoping to use a few more yet this year in my classroom. At first, the identification of content seems easy. I had to let this part simmer a bit, because in chemistry, concepts build, and I kept forgetting something. I’m still pushing around details. Several sessions were quite helpful as I determined how this might look in high school chemistry.

Finally, I found what turned out to be the first of several definitions:
Christine Carter’s semi-official definition of creativity:
“take bits of information and synthesize them into novel/original ideas or products that are in some way useful or adaptive.”
Kind of reminds me of an ole Mike Vance tape about creativity.  Mike Vance worked for Disney before starting his own creativity company. I wasn’t sure if he’s still in business as I heard his tapes about 30 years ago, so I of course looked him up.  He’s changed a little.

It’s been meaningful to see that creativity isn’t as wild and unbounded as I originally believed. An underlying layer to every presentation I’ve attended so far has been, for lack of a better term, content. These experts, promoters, of creativity seem to be taking for granted that in order to create, you have to know something first. Some openly state this idea. I’m feeling better about the whole thing.

Creativity and Science, Part 1
Creativity and Science, Part 2


4 Responses to “Creativity and Science, Part 3”
  1. […] Science and Creativity, Part 1 Science and Creativity, Part 3 […]

  2. […] Creativity and the Brain, Part 2 Creativity and the Brain, Part 3 […]

  3. Love that definition!

  4. Check out Moonwalking With Einstein by Josh Foer. Though his direct discussion about creativity is brief (in the context of the whole book), it is in essence one of the book’s points — to creatively combine previous knowledge, the knowledge must be remembered. He also had an entertaining TED talk.

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