“Cre­ativ­ity is as im­por­tant in ed­u­ca­tion as lit­er­acy and we should treat it with the same sta­tus.”

Parenting - - Education -

Many in­ven­tions in the mod­ern world ac­tu­ally re­sulted from a mis­take. Some of these in­ven­tions also il­lus­trate that cre­ativ­ity is a very im­por­tant part of sci­en­tific en­deav­our. Cre­ativ­ity is not lim­ited to the arts but is im­por­tant across all cur­ricu­lum ar­eas, in­clud­ing science and math­e­mat­ics. It’s a great idea to talk about some of these in­ven­tions with your chil­dren.

Frank Epperson was only 11 years old when he in­vented the pop­si­cle. He was stirring drink mix and wa­ter, and then ac­ci­den­tally left his drink out­side over night with the stirring stick in it, only to dis­cover in the morn­ing that it had frozen solid.

Safety glass was in­vented when a French chemist, Edouard Bene­dic­tus, ac­ci­den­tally knocked over a glass flask in his lab. In­stead of shat­ter­ing into a mil­lion pieces, the frag­ments hung to­gether be­cause he had lined the flask with cel­lu­lose ni­trate.

Post-it Notes were also a re­cent mis­take. In the 1970s, a 3M sci­en­tist named Arthur Fry adapted a prod­uct by Spencer Sil­ver which was orig­i­nally a mis­take. They were meant to be in­vent­ing very strong glue. In­stead, they made a weak ad­he­sive that sub­se­quently was rein­vented into the Post-it Note.

Vel­cro was in­vented by a Swiss en­gi­neer, Ge­orge de Mes­tral, in the 1940s. Ge­orge was try­ing to get the burs off his clothes af­ter walk­ing through a field. He was so in­trigued that he put the burs un­der a mi­cro­scope and dis­cov­ered the fi­bre had lit­tle hooks. Ul­ti­mately, he was able to adapt this con­cept to pro­duce Vel­cro which is made from thou­sands of lit­tle hoop and loop struc­tures.

Why am I shar­ing these sto­ries? Be­cause we need to share these sci­en­tific il­lus­tra­tions with chil­dren and young adults. These ex­am­ples teach them not to be afraid of mak­ing a mis­take but in­stead to rel­ish the op­por­tu­nity to think dif­fer­ently and out­side the square.

At a re­cent school as­sem­bly I used a per­sonal ex­am­ple of mine to em­pha­sise how im­por­tant it is to be okay about mak­ing mis­takes. I did a twirl in my skirt and asked who they thought the de­signer was. The girls sug­gested a list of fa­mous New Zealand de­sign­ers and I was very flat­tered! Ac­tu­ally one child did cor­rectly

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