Consider these six common objects:
1) a pencil
2) a plastic water bottle
3) a plastic shopping bag
4) a piece of rubber band
5) a paper clip.
6) a sheet of white paper, 8.5 inches Ă— 11 inches in size
What can you make out of these objects that is whimsical, artistic or practical?
Two weeks ago I launched the â€śSix Common Objects, Six Billion Possibilitiesâ€ť project for middle and high school classes within iEARN and already have as participants teachers and their students from Oman, Belarus, Lithuania, Canada, USA, Japan and Romania.
The rules for participating are simple:
- The students may choose to use all 6 or just some of the 6 objects. They may use only one of each item. They may use any size for the 6 objects except the white paper, which should be either 8.5 inches x 11 inches (or A4 size
- They may not use any objects other than these 6. Exceptions are glue, tape, and staples which may be used to bind or adhere the objects together
- The students may use any tool they wish to manipulate the 6 common objects. Â Examples of such tools include: scissors, iron, hammer, saw, wrench, pliers, awls, etc. Â Examples of using these tools to manipulate the 6 objects include: cutting, bending, shaping, smoothening, tearing, heating, cooling, twisting, crushing, pulverizing, folding, etc. As long as these tools are not used as raw materials and are not part of the resulting creation, the students can use them
Creativity is channeled by constraints.
The above constraints enable us to compare and contrast how different students around the world approach the same challenge. It would be most interesting to see the diversity of designs that emerge from around the world and to hear about how each group of students from different age groups and cultures approached this design challenge.
This is the second time I have hosted this particular project. The first time in 2010-2011, we had teachers and their students participate from Australia, Romania, India, USA, Belarus and Lebanon. Take a look at some of the studentsâ€™ artistic, practical and whimsical creations from the six common objects.
From Australia: A windmill.
From Australia: A bird feeder.
From India: A doll.
From India: An IV glucose dispenser.
Â From USA: A record player
From Romania: â€śThe Duchessâ€ť.
From Romania: â€śBrave Archerâ€ś.
What I found particularly remarkable about the Brave Archer is the craftsmanship and the story that the students created for their object. The first few lines of their elaborate and riveting story are reproduced below:
â€śThe Legend of the Brave Archer
At the beginning of the dark ages, a great king took good care of his people. He had a peaceful heart, all humans were happy to follow his lead. But, of course, there were some that hated his kind soul. Those were called the wizards.
The king knew that the destiny of his only child was in big danger. Even if his son was only 2 years old, that wouldnâ€™t stop the wizards to attack him. So, he called for help…â€ť
What I found delightful about hosting this workshop was seeing the remarkable creativity from the students, hearing their stories about their creative process and the opportunity to get to know some of the teachers and their students from other cultures. For example, the teacher and her students from Romania spent over two hours visiting with me and my family over Skype video conference. I found her studentsâ€™ creations remarkably artistic and creative. It was truly delightful to meet them via live video conferencing. That same teacher is participating again this semester with a class of younger students.
If youâ€™re interested in participating in this semesterâ€™s â€śSix Common Objects, Six Billion Possibilitiesâ€ť project, let me know via email at email@example.comÂ It is not too late to join us in this fun, cultural tour of creativity from around the world.