Overview of the Creativity Ideal


The Creativity Module helps students develop their capacity to think creatively and to see the creativity embedded in things and ideas around them. Challenges of creativity are everywhere in daily life--wherever it is important to think of new ways of doing things, to look at things through new eyes, to go beyond conventional ways of thinking, to stretch beyond the obvious. Challenges of creativity also arise in all areas of the curriculum, from thinking creatively about how to solve problems in math to looking for innovative ways to test a hypothesis in science, from finding an innovative topic for an essay to exploring alternative perspectives in history, from appreciating the creativity in historical figures' choices and actions to seeing the hidden inventiveness in the design of everyday objects.

Specifically, the Creativity Module aims to:

  • Increase students' awareness of the opportunities to think creatively and to see the creativity around them.
  • Help students recognize taken-for-granted situations and make them better by reframing them as problems or puzzles that invite fixing.
  • Teach students to notice how things and ideas are put together and to think creatively about how they could be put together differently.
  • Help students to be sensitive to opportunities to think outside of the box, to stretch beyond the obvious, to look at situations in new ways.
  • Encourage students to think of themselves as creative agents who can choose to transform the world around them.


A large part of the creativity Module consists of thinking routines related to creativity. As with all the routines in the Visible Thinking program, creativity routines are short mini-strategies designed to be used with little or no upfront instruction. Students – and you – can just jump right in. Each routine cultivates a different aspect of creativity. There isn't always one-to-one correspondence between a routine and an area of the creativity map; several routines address more than one map area. But taken together, the routines address the overall challenges of creativity represented on the creativity map as a whole. For more about routines in general, see the routines section of the website.

The 7 creativity routines are:

*Creative Hunt -- look at main purposes, parts and audiences to see how things creatively "hit their target."

*Creative Questions -- Brainstorm and transform questions in order to creatively expand an inquiry into a thing or idea.

Does it Fit --Explore creative options in terms of how they fit to an ideal goal, relevant criteria, the specific situation, and you personally.

*Options Explosion--Brainstorm a wide variety of options or ideas. Especially useful for creative decision making.

Options Diamond --Generate options and explore their opposing pulls in a decision situation.

Step Inside -- Explore the perspective of a person or object by imagining what the person or object might perceive, know about, care about.

*Consider starting with one of these routines.

Each of these routines is explained in the Creativity Routines section

Other Activities

Because the Creativity module is an inquiry into students' thinking as much as it is an instructional program, the module includes several activities for probing students' thinking. These are often done at the beginning of the module as a way of Introducing the Ideal . Other activities involve students in reflecting on what they have been learning and can be found in the Working with Ideal section. Finally, wrap up and post-measures of students' thinking are included in the Looking at Students' Conceptual Developmentsection.