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Odyssey Blog: Inventions and Flexible Thinking

Inventions and Flexible Thinking

October 9th, 2012: How do you take the ordinary and make it extraordinary? How do you team up to complete a challenge that is seemingly impossible? Today we worked on creative problem solving in groups and individually. We discovered that both situations often require us to think outside the box, to dream up new possibilities and to practice our flexible thinking.

Verbal Warm-up

We made the verbal challenges more challenging by tossing a ball around at the same time. When you caught the ball, you answered the question.

Name Something Red

  • tomatoes
  • Ned's hair
  • velvet
  • licorice
  • Sean's pants
  • books
  • Little Red Riding Hood

Things That Are Tired

  • computer (you can put it to sleep!)
  • cars
  • you, mommy
  • Rip Ran Winkle

Hands-On Challenge

Body Ball

Or in this case, a hands-off challenge! Everyone formed a tight circle with their feet together. Without using hands or arms, a ball needed to be passed from one person to the next around the circle, first clock-wise than counter clock-wise. Lots of wiggling and giggling came with this challenge. It seemed impossible at first but after slowing down and making subtle movements the ball started to smoothly make it around the circle.

The Dry Swim

We have all seen synchronized swimming, but what do you do if you do not have a pool available? Synchronized land swimming, of course! Each person created a series of movements for the rest of the group to copy. They had to explain the moves while doing the moves themselves and without looking to see if the rest of the group was following. It produced some interesting results!

  • Lie on your back and raise your leg above your head, without bending your knees and then make large circles
  • lie on your left side and raise your arm and your leg up and down at the same time
  • turn onto your belly, wave your arms in the air and turn over again.

Out of a Hat

We formed into groups and picked seemingly impossible challenges out of a hat and worked to make them possible. With great success and fun , I might add!

Can your group make it from one side of the room to the other while remaining in constant contact with each other and achieving the following:

  • Three people on three legs with backs together.
  • Elbow touching the other person's knees
  • No feet or hands touching the floor, with eyes closed

Inventions, Inventions, Inventions

This week we took ordinary things we use all the time and worked to make them extraordinary. Last week a group of items were brought in and everyone got to pick something that appealed to them. They thought about what the item is used for and thought about ways they could improve on the design. Could it be faster, prettier, more useful, recyclable, smaller, larger? The possibilities were endless. Here is what our group came up with.

  • Peaceful P knew that band-aides need an upgrade. She was tired of having band-aides stick to things they are not suppose to stick to! The adhesive on her band-aides will only stick when they come in contact with skin. They will also change color to match your skin tone.
  • Zealous Z decided to work with paper towels. Her paper towels will have a small amount of adhesive on each segment so if you drop the roll, they will not unravel. (Everyone gave lots of other ideas for paper towels including ones that had stories written on them,
  • Nuclear N thought people would appreciate having their hands free for other things when they pick up their dry cleaning. He invented a hat with a hanger that hangs on the side of your head.
  • Nice N worked with a troll doll to make it “non-creepy,” and gave it flexible hands so it could hold things making it more useful and potentially fun.
  • Mysterious M improved upon the toothbrush. Her version dispenses five yummy toothpaste flavors that never runs out.
  • Majestic M devised a cork with a camera, always ready for your party shots! It also comes with a mirror, flashlight, and secret compartment. Perfect for a spy!
  • Shocking C created a flashlight that can transform into a disco light with everlasting batteries.
  • Almost A created a string container with a spool that prevented the string from getting tangled. It also held scissors and a tape measure.
  • Curious C improved the book light by making it smaller, longer lasting with a price that is cheaper than others on the market.
  • Magic M created a Frisbee that was remote controlled and could go all the way to Africa. Decorated with glow-in-the-dark butterflies and a soft cover so you can catch it without hurting your hands. You can attach messages to the Frisbee and correspond with whomever finds it.

Into the Nitty-Gritty of the Odyssey Long Term Problems

Working on the long term problems is a little like eating an elephant- you have to bite off little pieces at a time. Today we inspected the issues involved in problem # 1 Pet Project:

The problem is to design, build, and run three vehicles that will deliver parts to an Assembly Area. The team will create a signal that lets the audience know which vehicle is about to travel and deliver a part. The parts will be assembled into a pet animal. Once assembly is completed, the animal will perform a trick. The theme of the presentation must include the delivery of the parts, the assembly, and the pet animal.

One problem explored in 45 minutes. We are just beginning.

We are Team Talking Stick.

-- Asha

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