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Creative Problem Solving

What if there was a simple way to teach the core 21st century competencies of creative and critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills in one free supra curriculum education programme?

The Hexis21 Creative Problem Solving course offers a solution for schools interested in providing opportunities to address this essential requirement.

Teaching creative problem solving through design thinking

Session 1

The objective of this video is to introduce the concept of design thinking & explore the limitations of making assumptions on creative problem solving.

The video begins by discussing the mindset of a creative thinker, the role of storytelling in problem solving, and how making assumptions can limit our thinking skills. A case study is explored that relates to a car manufacturer trying to improve its sales of electric cars. The video explains the process of getting to the heart or root cause of the problem that needs to be solved and the way that guiding questions can be formed to provide a clear pathway through the problem. 

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The workbooks below are also available as physical resources for students to work on in school or at home. They are relevant to the entire course. General reflection worksheets can be downloaded here. Click on the images below to purchase from Amazon.

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Session 2

The objective of this video is to use creative problem solving and critical thinking skills to tackle a real-world issue.

The video presents students with an opportunity to engage in creative problem solving by addressing the issue of injuries experienced by elderly people while walking their dogs. The video should be paused so that students have the opportunity to consult the information sources and worksheets. The first pause is at 0.38 in the video where students are encouraged to access a range of data to gain an empathetic understanding of the problem. The video can then be re-started after the countdown to move students on to the next phase of the design thinking process. The video should be paused for the second time at 2.34 so that students can use the Empathy Map. The video should again be paused at 4.03 so that students can use the 5Whys technique to think critically about the issue and form guiding questions to provide their direction. There is another countdown (20 seconds) to indicate that the video is about to move on to the How Might We task.

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Worksheets and information sheets for download or online editing.

Session 3

The objective of this video is to generate ideas to solve a real world issue using the 'Idea Box'.​

The video invites students to begin the ideation or idea generation process. The concept of the Idea Box is introduced and demonstrated using a case study. Students are then encouraged to create their own Idea Box to generate ideas for their solution to the issue relating to elderly people becoming injured while walking their dogs. They need to achieve a fine balance between feasibility, viability and desirability. The video should be paused at  3.16 so that student can work in groups to work on their idea box. A countdown brings the class back together and readies them for the next phase of the design thinking process which involves prototyping their MVP. Students then sketch their solutions labelling the key features in terms of how they tackle the problem. Models can be made using paper clay and/or construction paper. It may be possible for students to access your school's art and design or technology facilities in order to build a prototype. The Reflection Journal can be completed at the end of the lesson or set as homework. The second video relates to the extension task and includes a wide range of fun and creative thinking exercises.

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Worksheets and information sheets for download or online editing.
Worksheets and information sheets for download (Prompt sheet, Blank Idea Box 1, Blank Idea Box 2) or online editing.

Session 4

The objective of this video is to gain feedback on students' solutions so that iteration can take place.

The video outlines the testing phase of the design thinking process. This will involve students constructing meaningful questions to gain feedback on their solution. The work of McTighe & Wiggins is referenced in this video. Their book, Essential Questions can be found here. They will evaluate the feedback in order to iterate their solutions. The video should be paused at 2.57 for this work to take place. The next phase requires students to create a storyboard to show and understand the journey of their target market using their solution. The Reflection Journal can be completed at the end of the lesson or set as homework.

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Worksheets for online editing or download (Testing the solution, Feedback Capture Grid and blank storyboard)
Testing the solution question design (1)
Feedback Capture Grid
Cartoon storyboard
Storyboard template 1
Storyboard templates 2
Storyboard templates 3
Storyboard templates 4
Storyboard templates 5

Sessions 5 & 6

The objective of this video is to create a presentation of the process and solution that each group has determined to be their minimum viable product.

The video encourages students to look back through their Reflection Journal to help them communicate their thought processes and what they have learned during the process about themselves and how to solve problems. Students will then spend time constructing their presentation to identify how they used the design thinking process to come up with their solution. They can use the worksheets, sketches, models and any other aspect of their experiences in this process.  Each group will present in front of each other and pose questions to the presenters to gain clarity.

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Worksheets and presentation templates for online editing or download (Presentation template 1, Presentation template 2, Observation Sheet 1, Observation Sheet 2)
Design Thinking Presentation Template
Design Thinking Presentation 2
Observation Form 1
Observation Form 2

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of this education programme?

This education programme has been created to meet an essential need. Schools need to provide opportunities for their students to practise and understand the 21st century skills that are integral for future survival.

These essential skills are creative thinking, critical thinking, collaboration and communication.

The development of such skills helps to develop the character qualities of curiosity, initiative, persistence/grit, adaptability, leadership and social and cultural awareness.

Without opportunities to practise these skills students will find that they are ill-prepared for higher education and employment.

The Hexis21 Education Programme provides a comprehensive framework within which teachers and learners can navigate these skills.

Who is this programme aimed at?

The Hexis21 Education Programme is aimed at students aged 12-14 but could be suitable for students that are beyond this stage.

Where does this education programme fit into the curriculum?

While the secondary school curriculum is undoubtedly packed, this education programme can fit easily into PSHE or Citizenship lessons. This is because the Hexis21 Education Programme incorporates themes of acceptance, prejudice, marginalised groups and assumptions. The programme could also work within CDT/EDT or Art and Design lessons.

This programme could also work perfectly as part of a supra curriculum for those students interested in developing the core competencies of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication. This programme would also work really well as Summer term activity for any year group.

How long does the programme last?

The minimum duration of the programme is 6 hours. It has the potential to last for the duration of an academic school term.

Do teachers need specific training to be able to facilitate the programme?

The programme is led by the video content. The teacher in the classroom acts as the facilitator of the programme. 

What resources are included?

High quality video content is provided for each session. In addition worksheets have been created to guide students through the process. These are available to download as pdfs to be printed and are available as editable pdfs in the event that your school has access to IT resources.

There is a Reflection Journal available here which supports the programme by giving students space to consider the ideas and concepts that they have encountered in each session. Guiding questions are specific to this programme. 

The Creativity Playbook is also on offer to students as a means to develop further their creative thinking and problem solving. This can be used as prep or as lesson starters or exits. The 35 interesting, fun and engaging activities will help students come up with innovative and creative solutions to interesting problems and scenarios.

Lesson plans are provided for each session and these include guiding questions, key terminology, transcripts of the video content and ideas for interesting extension activities. The teachers' webpage lays out clearly the flow of each session and as such, there is no requirement to download any aspect of the Hexis21 Education Programme.

How much is the Hexis21 Education Programme?

Access to the video content, lesson plans and worksheets for an unlimited number of students is FREE.
We currently offer free educational resources under a Creative Commons License (Attribution-Non-Commercial CC BY-NC) that present real world issues along with thinking strategies to evaluate and solve them.

Where can I find out more information?

Contact us via our contact page here.

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