Engaging Students in the Making of Good New Ideas
Module Fourteen -- Just Suppose - What if?

Michalko calls his chapter on this kind of thinking "Stone Soup" after the story of the beggar who convinced a whole village to contribute to the soup he started with nothing more than water, a stone and a fire. He lists dozens of "what if" questions to help stir the imagination.

The capacity to explore apparently far-fetched possibilities is closely associated with a willingness to wander far afield and wonder about things.

Consider the diagram below as an example of the interplay between wondering, wandering and comprehending or inventing:

Edward deBono suggested that Anglo culture is better at what he calls "vertical thinking" - logical and analytical - than at "lateral thinking" - the exploration of unusual possibilities.

Try adding to the list below . . .

  • What if K-12 teachers met with students as many hours per week as college professors do?
  • What if No Child Left Behind ended tomorrow?
  • What if we never tested students?
  • What if families sat down to dinner together 4-5 nights each week?
  • What if . . .
  • What if . . .

You will find Just Suppose - What if? (Stone Soup) on pages 242-250 of Thinkertoys.

Please do not move to next module until instructed to do so by the facilitator.

© Jamie McKenzie, 2008, all rights reserved. No copies can be made or distributed in any format without the express written permission of the author.