Creative Problem Solving Seminar

questionmarkQuestion:  What do you get when you bring together 90 young creative minds?Answer: A group of engaged learners demonstrating critical and creative thinking skills while collaborating, working as a team, and solving problems!

At the end of August, third through sixth grade students at all 10 elementary buildings were invited to submit a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story.  Over 100 stories were submitted and 90 students were invited to attend the Creative Problem Solving seminar at the Westside Community Conference Center.

As students came in, they were given a VIP name tag with a group name on the back.  You can read more about the group names on our wiki page.


The first challenge of the day was to build the highest structure possible given 15 index cards, 2 straws, and 5 mailing labels.  The structure had to be on the yellow piece of paper taped to the table.  The challenge?  Hands could not enter the yellow area!  Students were given 2 straws, a fork, and 4 popsicle sticks to use as tools.  The result was a lot of communicating, problem solving and creative thinking!  Our judges (5 former Destination Imagination participants from WHS) measured the final height of the towers.  Check out what the kids built!

Next, the students rotated through five stations that put their communication and teamwork skills to the test.  Throughout the challenges, students were given tickets for displaying good teamwork and communication skills.  Students also earned tickets for their creative designs and solutions.  Tickets were placed in sacks for a chance to win a variety of prizes.

Here is a brief synopsis of each station:

  1. Random PVC parts are on the floor.  How fast can you construct a 3D figure using all of the parts?
  2. How accurately can you recreate a Lego structure after only looking at it for 2 minutes?  This station required students to pay attention to details and communicate effectively.
  3. How fast can you raise a hula hoop up from the ground, over someone’s head, and back to the ground?  Oh, and by the way, only using spoons!
  4. What are some alternate uses for a pool noodle?  A 5-gallon bucket?  A seat cushion? Teams scored points for original and creative ideas.
  5. How quickly can you pass a ball around the group making sure every person’s hands touch the ball?

The afternoon was spent working on an Explain Everything (app installed on all iPads) video.  Students were given a brief introduction to the app and a link to some additional resources.  Students were able to choose any topic for their video.  Some chose to explain the basics of a favorite sport and others chose brainteasers.  Most students didn’t have enough time to finish their video, but we encouraged them to use their E/I time back at school.

Overall, it was an exciting day and truly inspirational to witness the creative and innovative problem solvers of Westside Community Schools come together!

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