Take Five

Thought-Provoking Art

Five ways to jump start creative thinking


Start it up! There’s no need to divide critical thinking from creativity. The two easily meld into classroom activities with art as the starting point.

Activate knowledge with art. Have students express what they already know in the form of an art project. The new context will keep them engaged while they mentally revisit what they’ve learned.

Extend thinking with art. Use art projects to explore connections, seek new uses for data, find new approaches to information, and explore the implications of ideas.

Experiment with problem solving through art. Have students create their own dramatic works, prompted by “What if?” questions. Answers should be written in the form of scripts that can be brought to life and performed for the class. Or challenge students to combine two genres of music. Art projects can be full of problems to solve, or they can be the solutions to problems.

Let art give permission for creativity. Math, history, and science lessons can focus on accuracy to the point of leaving students fearful of getting the wrong answer if they think too deeply or question assumptions. Use art projects to create the freedom for speculation and open-ended research.

Analyze art. Use existing artworks for observation, sorting, and analysis.

Good for the Whole Brain!

Critical thinking and creativity are equally essential 21st century skills. Introduce your class to art-based critical thinking activities for whole-brain results.



Rebecca Haden

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