Toothpick Construction Contest
It can be fun to run a creativity contest for your students. You will be impressed with the creative ingenuity students display as they let their imaginations run wild with innovative thinking.
Before conducting any creativity contests, you might want to engage students in a discussion of creativity by posing some questions. For example, how does one define the word creative? How does one know if one has been creative? Are there any unique characteristics of the so-called creative individual? Are there any ways in which one can become more creative?
As an incentive, you might wish to award extra credit to contest winners while awarding less extra credit to all contest participants.Toothpick Construction:
- One box of flat toothpicks and a tube of fast-drying cement are used by each team of two students.
- The teams are instructed to create what they consider to be a creative toothpick construction. Examples of such constructions are a Ferris wheel that turns, pieces of furniture, and impressionistic sculptures.
- Distribute it to the students a few days in advance of the contest.
Variations of this contest might involve the
- Using plastic toothpicks or small, plastic-coated straws along with quick-drying plastic cement
- Having students assemble their constructions at home with no restrictions on the numbers of boxes of toothpicks used
- Having students design and assemble similar constructions, such as a bridge, with the winner being the bridge that supports the greatest weight
- Distribute it to the judges selected from another class.
- After judging has been completed, add up the total rating scores for each entry.
- Barring a runoff in the event of a tie, the team with the highest score is the winner.
- After announcing the winner, discuss with your students the criteria listed by the judges that influenced their rating of the entries.
- The main point the students should understand is that the judging of any contest of this nature is highly subjective. In other words, when it comes to judging creativity, it is extremely difficult for people to agree on just what makes something creative.
Excerpted from Biology Teacher's Survival Guide.