Divergent thinking teaching methods can expand the minds of your students. Utilizing interesting dinosaur fossil replicas or animatronic dinosaurs is a memorable way to help kids of any age learn how to activate their curiosity and make connections between seemingly unrelated subjects.
Creative teaching methods are often the most effective way to reach as many students as possible, and what could be more fun and creative than incorporating dinosaurs into your lessons?
You can find dinosaur fossil replicas in many places, and they are a perfect way to introduce divergent thinking into your classroom.
What is Divergent Thinking Teaching?
Divergent thinking can be thought of as a top-down approach to creative problem-solving. Instead of answering formulaic questions with rote memorization, students are given open-ended questions and encouraged to generate as many “out-of-the-box” answers as possible.
Divergent thinking makes room for exploration and deeper thinking, and it helps students to learn how to cross conventional subject boundaries in order to come up with more innovative solutions.
Classroom Strategies for Divergent Thinking
There are a few ways to incorporate divergent thinking into your classroom while still maintaining a certain level of structure.
1. Ask questions that do not have one “correct” answer. Many students are afraid to say the wrong thing and face judgment or rejection, so encourage the class to say anything that comes to mind without fear of ridicule.
2. Teach them how to give constructive feedback based on observations rather than value judgments. This fosters discussion and encourages open-mindedness.
3. Use creative methods like random input and lateral thinking to get your students thinking divergently.
How to Use Dinosaur Fossils For Teaching Divergent Thinking
Obtaining a dinosaur skeleton or animatronic dinosaur is a fun and exciting way to introduce the concept of divergent thinking into a classroom regardless of how old your students are.
You can use these fossils and skeletons to introduce open-ended questions such as the following:
- This dinosaur has teeth that show it’s an herbivore. What else does this tell you about its life?
- Have your students look up where in the world a particular dinosaur was primarily found. Ask how its size and skeletal makeup might help it survive in that region, and try asking other questions like why it might not be found in other areas of the world.
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- Would this dinosaur be able to survive anywhere in the world today? Encourage them to discuss why or why not, and guide the conversation so that everyone can be included. As students become more comfortable with the concept of stretching their imaginations, you will start to see more excitement and participation.
- Use the dinosaur skeletons and fossils to challenge their assumptions about how certain species looked or behaved, and let them imagine how the creatures might have looked, sounded, and acted outside of their Hollywood notions and preconceived mindsets.
- If your initial question leads to other questions, allow your students to pause and look up the answers right away. Reinforcing their curiosity at the moment is the best way to cultivate divergent thinking.
Break from the Norm with Divergent Thinking
With the knowledge of how to use dinosaur fossil replica for teaching, you now have a fun and unique tool in your teaching toolbox to help introduce your students to the idea of divergent thinking.
Fostering an accepting and creative intellectual environment allows students to break from the traditional “lecture and memorization” model of learning and step into a new way of thinking that can benefit them for the rest of their lives.