SCAMPER: Scaffolding Creativity

Asking students to "think creatively" won't get you far. They won't know how to start, they'll get stuck with simple ideas, or they'll just go completely wild. SCAMPER is a tool for scaffolding the process of creativity.

The Game of 100

Who can get to 100 first in this simple, but delightful, math game?

A Lunar Survival Mission

A favorite of mine! This task is delightfully complex and ambiguous, forcing students to make choices without enough information and with no right answer. How will they survive on the moon for three days?

New Uses for a Paperclip

So what are some new ways to use a paperclip?

Building Creative Analogies

We'll take two seemingly unrelated pieces of content (say volcanoes and the human body) and then build analogies to connect the two ideas. In the end, students can create a skit, comic, or story relating the two concepts.

An Escher-Style Tessellation Project

Create a piece of repeating art in the style of MC Escher!

Ultimate (or Inception) Tic Tac Toe

So, I heard you like Tic-Tac-Toe. What if each square on a Tic-Tac-Toe board had another Tic-Tac-Toe board inside of it? 🤯

Self Portraits Part One: Line Drawings

Part 1 of Self Portraits

Anyone, yes anyone, can create a (somewhat) realistic self-portrait using these steps. Anyone!

Educational Valentines

Let's make valentines with an educational twist!

Writing About Art: The Scream

Part 6 of Writing About Art

Your students will turn the iconic painting The Scream into a vivid, sensory poem.

Game: Number Scrabble

What if we played Tic-Tac-Toe with numbers and instead of three-in-a-row, we add up to 15? Well… then we'd have Number Scrabble!

Game: Bulls and Cows

How quickly can you break the code with Bulls and Cows?

Self Portraits: Text Art

Part 2 of Self Portraits

What if a students' self-portrait was made of words that describe the student!?

Game: Jotto

Who can guess the other person's codeword first? This game practices inducting thinking and encourages the development of a strategy.

Game: Snakes

In this grid-based strategy game, who will be the last to add to the snake?

Fizz Buzz: A Counting and Divisibility Game

Ready for a tricky counting and divisibility game?

Fractals: Sierpinski’s Triangle

What if this triangle pattern just kept repeating… forever!?

Game: Order and Chaos

Imagine Tic-Tac-Toe if both players could play as both Xs and Os!

Fractals: Koch Snowflake

You could keep zooming in on this snowflake forever!

Squiggles Introduction

What do you see in this squiggle?

Game: Ghost

Ghost is a word-building game for two players. The first person to create an actual word loses.

Back to School: Rewriting The Beatles’ “Help!”

Can your students come up with a one-syllable word to sum up their time away from school? And then rewrite The Beatles' song Help!?

Game: Sprouts

Learn how to play the abstract, paper-and-pencil game Sprouts.

Game: Dots and Boxes

Learn how to play the abstract, paper-and-pencil game Dots and Boxes.

Game: Wild Tic Tac Toe

Imagine Tic-Tac-Toe, but both players can both play as both X and O throughout the whole game! First to get three-in-a-row still wins!

Looping Grid Art

Pick a few numbers, draw some corresponding lines on grid paper, and you'll end up with some interesting, looping math-y art!

Investigating Christmas Trees

Students start with facts, then make groups, and then work with a single statement about Christmas Trees.

Inferring With Art: A Man

What's going on in this painting? Who is that guy? What's his job? And where's his other boot?

Game: Gomoku

Want to take Tic-Tac-Toe to the next level!? Imagine a 15Ă—15 board. You must get five-in-a-row. You cannot get six-in-a-row. That's Gomoku!

Game: Chomp

Learn how to play the abstract, paper-and-pencil game Chomp!

Shift Cipher (Codes Part 1)

Part 1 of Codes and Ciphers

Let's encode and decode secret messages like Julius Caesar!

Game: Col

Learn how to play the abstract, paper-and-pencil game Col!

Categorize and Re-Categorize Animals

Put these animals into groups. Then do it again. Then… do it one more time. How does re-re-grouping the same creatures reveal new patterns and give new insights?

Lipogram: Rewrite “Twinkle, Twinkle”

What if we rewrote a piece of writing without using certain letters?

Game: Notakto

What if you only played Tic-Tac-Toe with Xs and you could play on multiple boards?

How to Play Go (A Chess and Checkers Alternative)

Ready to learn a 2,500-year-old Chinese board game? Let's… go!

Paradox: The Liar’s Paradox

Nothing like a paradox to get your kids brains exploding 🤯! This one starts with five simple words: "This statement is a lie."

Inferring With Art: Two Women

What are these two women up to? What's that thing she's holding? Let's make some inferences!

Math Game: Heaps

Try this a simple (but surprisingly strategic) subtraction game!

Racetrack – Race Around A Graph

How fast do you get your mathematical car going without crashing?

Paradox: Rebuilding A Ship

What if we completely rebuild something slowly? What if we completely rebuild it all at once? Is it still the same thing?

Paradox: Crocodile Dilemma

Students grapple with The Crocodile Dilemma, a paradox from Ancient Greece in which a tricky crocodile makes a deal with some parents. Warning: students brains might explode 🤯

Drawing Knots, Level 1

How to draw a simple version of this twisty Henri Matisse knot!

Squiggles Collection 1

Students start with the same squiggle and then draw on it, turning it into whatever they think it might be.

Math Game: Cram

Try this a simple (but surprisingly strategic) grid-filling game!

Pig Pen Cipher (Codes Part 2)

Part 2 of Codes and Ciphers

Let's encode some secret messages with a cipher that was actually used during the American Civil War!

Parabolic Curve Art

Create mathematical art with curves that, well, aren't curvy.

Thinking With Art: Head Down

Students will work their brain in several ways, noticing details, comparing, synthesizing, and finally identifying a parallel. All with one artist's work!

Self Portraits: Pointillism

Part 3 of Self Portraits

Turn your students into a bunch of Monets with q-tips and some tempera paint.

Building Brush Bots and Art Bots

What if we turned a tooth brush into a robot… that could do art?

Art Lesson: One-Point Perspective

Let's give our students an art history lesson while teaching them how to enhance their drawings using one-point perspective.

Paradox: The Barber’s Paradox

The barber shaves everybody who doesn't themselves. So... does the barber shave himself?

Drawing An Impossible Triangle

Here's how you can draw The Penrose Triangle, an example of an impossible shape.

Path Cipher (Codes Part 4)

Part 4 of Codes and Ciphers

Now let's try the Path Cipher - a cipher that mixes things up even more than Zig Zag did.

Inferring With Art: A Couple

What's going on in this room? There are shoes everywhere! Are those… oranges? Let's make some inferences!

Concept Attainment: Cubism (Art)

Students will be working with examples and non-examples to deduce the topic of cubism.

New Uses For A Pencil

So, what can a pencil be used for other than writing and drawing?

Art Lesson: Two-Point Perspective

Let's get students' art really popping with two-point perspective!

Zig Zag Cipher (Codes Part 3)

Part 3 of Codes and Ciphers

Let's try a cipher that doesn't substitute new letters or shapes. We just mix things up.

Lipogram: Rewrite “Mary Had A Little Lamb”

What if we rewrote a piece of writing without using certain letters?

Slow Motion Popcorn

What surprises can you spot when a kernel pops in super slow-mo?

Chess Variant: Monster Chess

What if you had really weak chess pieces, but you could always move twice?

Microchess (Chess Variant)

What if we played chess on a board that's only 4Ă—5?

New Uses For A Chair

So, what can a chair be used for other than, you know, sitting in?

New Uses For An Aluminum Can

So, what CAN a CAN be used for other than storing liquids?

Squiggles Collection 2

Students start with the same squiggle and then draw on it, turning it into whatever they think it might be.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Nothing could possibly go wrong with a love potion on the loose!

Four Player Chess

Tired of boring ol' chess? Then you need to try FOUR PLAYER chess!

Drawing Knots, Level 2

How to draw a more complex version of this twisty Henri Matisse knot!

What If… No Sleep?

What would the consequences be if no one had to sleep anymore?

Squiggles Collection 3

Students start with the same squiggle and then draw on it, turning it into whatever they think it might be.

Drawing Knots, Level 3

How to draw the final version of the twisty Henri Matisse knot!

Cooking In Space

Watch astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti cook a meal in zero gravity on the International Space Station.

What If… Unreliable Water?

What would the consequences be if a town's tap water became… unreliable?

Romeo and Juliet Summary

Romeo and Juliet in just about five minutes.

Frozen Bubble

What happens when you blow a bubble in below-freezing temperatures?


Sure, anyone can win at checkers… but can you lose!?

Charge of the Light Brigade – Chess Variant

What if one side played with THREE QUEENS and the other had SEVEN KNIGHTS!? What if?

Categorize and Re-Categorize Countries

Put these countries into groups. Then do it again. Then… do it one more time. How does re-re-grouping the same places reveal new patterns and give new insights?

Van Gogh Self-Portrait Tournament

Who will win the tournament of Van Gogh self-portraits!?

Horde Chess Variant

What if one player had, say, 32 pawns?

What If… Long Life?

What would the consequences be if all people lived much, much longer?

Hamlet Summary

It's Hamlet in just about five minutes!

Twelfth Night Summary

An animated summary of Shakespeare's utterly ridiculous "Twelfth Night."

Changing Baby Names

You won't believe how fascinating it is to watch a map of the most popular baby names by US state.

“Much Ado About Nothing” Summary

Shakespeare's Much Ado summarized in just five minutes!

Melting Ice Cream

Various desserts melt in surprisingly different ways.

Shadow Spinner

Watch this block of Lego cast three completely different shadows of three distinctly different objects! How'd he do it?