Thinking Tools!


Teacher:  Stephanie Berry

Ages:  11-14

Mat Fees:  $30

Class Fees:  $256 or $64/month for 4 months

Homework:  NONE!


Thinking Tools is a class that is loosely based on the book Sparks Of Genius; The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World's Most Creative People.  While we work on the skills outlined in this book,  but I have also added in creative  thinking skill suggestions from thinkers like Dan Pink, Ken Robinson and others from books like  Mind Wide Open, Learning Organizations, The Element, A Whole New Mind, Mensa Mind Puzzlers and more. Kids really enjoy this very different way of thinking and learning, and carry these skills into all areas of their lives.  Many skills will be introduced, and depending on how the classes respond we will explore them more thoroughly, or just expose the students to the skills.  Because we are limited to a mere 16 weeks, we will limit our games and activities to the following concepts;


Lateral Thinking / Team Building including Red Herrings, Object-Usage brain storming, Towers of Hanoi, How is this related to that?, Group Collaborative Games, Game Theory games, Pattern identification and creation using Mensa puzzlers, Mind Benders (visual and verbal), Tactile Object Jumping games, Toothpick Puzzlers, Picture Descriptors and MANY games!  


We'll also work on Geometric Imaging / Dimensional Thinking & Modeling by playing games like create and communicate, mentally folding and unfolding dice and other standard objects, drawing and copying complex patterns, drawing items from different vantage points, Mensa visualization exercises and pattern creation from different and varying levels of complex shapes and colors.  


We will then move into synthesizing, the ability to take complex thoughts and ideas and determine the minimal amount of information that is necessary to communicate this idea.   As in Picasso’s art “The Bull”, where Picasso worked on many iterations before he found the minimal information necessary to still communicate the idea of “Bull” to the viewer, we will look at art, math & vocabulary to work on abstract synthesizing.   The ability to synthesize data, or information, is necessary in every form of work, in every discipline.  What scientist doesn’t need to synthesize their theory into the basics to get funding?  What journalist doesn’t have to synthesize complex activities into one article?  How many times have you thought “Get to the point!”   The art of being able to synthesize is a crucial skill that will help students in every aspect of their academic career, and beyond.


Because simulations and cooperative work is so important, we will also work on teams to participate in a simulated event, figuring out the safest and most productive ways of handling the event.   As the teams progress through the event, new information will be given to them to intensify the event, and their options of what to do next.


Although much of this class is designed to get the left and right brain talking, we will also spend time on purely left brained logic puzzlers like Mind Benders.  These process of elimination logic games are wildly popular and help kids develop skills in making quick logical connections and also seeing how two events could not be related.    Mind Benders are so popular, kids ask for these to be given out over holiday breaks, so even though this class is designed to NOT have homework, your kids may insist on it!   Expect your kids to come home with lots of fun games to challenge your brain!