Grades 7 - Adult


Brainstorm quantity, not quality

The Brain


Think of the brain as being composed of two parts:

a place for general ideas 
a place for precise ideas

Precise Ideas have a high possibility of being creative.

General ideas are rarely creative.

Being Creative

The problem: We must go through the common ideas to get to the interesting ones.

If you come up with lots of ideas, you eventually run out of common ideas and come up with interesting ones.

There Are No Silly Ideas

People often hesitate to tell others their ideas. They are afraid someone will laugh. It’s as if they have a black cloud instead of a mind. The black cloud makes them afraid to say anything.

To overcome that black cloud, brainstorm as many ideas as possible in a short time. No matter how silly, write down the idea. Do not waste time neatly writing down the ideas in detail.

What, after all, is “silly”? A little over a century ago, flying was called silly and stupid. In the early 19th century, the engineers of trains were afraid to go faster than 60 mph. People thought the body would implode!

Task 1.1.1 – Class

Ms. Smith is taking a class of 20 fifth graders camping overnight. Two classroom aides and two parents are also going. The class is taking ATV recreational vehicles to get to the campsite.

Two days before leaving, Ms. Smith and the two chaperones brainstorm what could go wrong.

They brainstorm 50 possible problems, including –

  • bee sting
  • kids fight
  • run out of gas         
  • it gets cold
  • flat tire 
  • someone catches a cold
  • kid falls off from a tree  
  • forgot bread
  • wet firewood
  • forgot matches
  • no firewood     
  • someone falls in a hole
  • someone forgot sleeping bag
  • rain
  • someone did not bring extra clothing
  • aliens arrive
  • bear eats all the food       
  • kids sneak out of camp
  • zombies invade the camp  
  • someone has an allergic reaction to a bug bite
  • someone has an allergic reaction to a bug bite
  • someone forgot their permission slip
      • Does Ms. Smith’s list contain any silly ideas?
      • Which idea is least likely to happen?
      • Which ideas are most likely to happen?

Kids and Creativity

Do you ever feel that some kids are really creative?

They come up with Gucci ideas while yours are like smelly tennis shoes?

It is true that some kids are more creative.

Just like some kids are better at math or basketball or blowing bubbles.

But anyone can learn to be creative.

Just follow these three steps:

    1. Brainstorm for quantity, not quality.
    2. Grade the ideas (Lesson 1.2).
    3. Put the A ideas in order (Lesson 1.3).

Task 1.1.2 – Small Group

Your dog will not stay in the yard. You are afraid it will get hit by a car, run away, be stolen, get in a dog fight, or bite someone. How can you keep it where it belongs?

In groups of 3-4, brainstorm at least 20 ideas. You will have three minutes. Remember, there is no such thing as a silly idea.


Brainstorm _________ not ___________