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Hands to the Sky - "Questions Create Limitless Possibilities"

Hands to the Sky is an activity that encourages students to question every item imaginable and it also sparks their creativity by making them design an improved version of the item.

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Written by DeletedUser

We live in a society and education system that teaches kids that teachers are always right and they should be obedient and never question the things that adults say. A "good" student is suppose to be quiet and do what the teacher has planned for them. Where in this system is there room for creativity and problem solving opportunities. It has been proven that individuals learn best when they are engaged and are not simply listening to a lecture. 

Hands to the Sky, is a simple but powerful idea. It involves teachers and/or parents coming up with a list of a few mundane things/items (e.g. of coffee mug, backpack, school bus, chair) and make the kids question why the item was made the way it was and how it can be improved. I would say that setting aside at least an hour a day for this activity will help kids begin to question everything and anything. This is a way to get them to be more critical of everything that surrounds them and evaluate how anything can be improved with a little bit of imagination and questioning.  

In this challenge, we want to create ideas with young people, not for them. Outline how you’re planning to involve young people or other end-users (parents, teachers, etc) in designing, iterating or testing your idea during the Ideas phase.

Teacher and parent involvement is crucial in order for Hands to the Sky to be effective. Most kids are not going to think of ways that items/things can be improved, they will need the parents and teachers to help them develop that mindset. So for Hands to the Sky: - Teachers and parents are the responsible (especially initially) to come up with a list of ordinary items that the kids use. - Teachers and parents are going to be the ones to challenge the kids to question the items and think of ways to improve the item. - The kids (students) will have to analyze the functionality of the item and answer the question, "why was this item constructed this way?" - After questioning the items purpose and design the students will then have to draw the design of the improved item they came up with. Or even better if teachers/parents can provide actual materials to make mock up of the student's product.

How might you envision your idea spreading across geographies or cultures so that it inspires young people around the world to cultivate their creative confidence?

My idea can extend to all cultures and geographic locations because it requires very little money. I envision new and old teachers receiving training on how to encourage students to ask questions. I envision classrooms being more interactive and a better learning environment where students are empowered by allowing their ideas to flourish and by having someone to listen to their thoughts. Hands to the Sky will initially start out as an exercise but soon become habitual in the lives of the students who will learn to question everything and anything. Students will develop the idea that every thing that surrounds them can be improved and they can be catalysts to that change by lifting their hands to the sky.

What skills, input or guidance would you like to receive from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

I think I have the idea of what I want to get out of the exercise but I would just need someone to help improve the exercise; someone that can help structure my idea.

1 comment

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Photo of Risha  Parmar

Great idea, I agree that we need to focus on asking more questions rather than finding the solutions. We can learn a lot more by doing this, by raising your hand you are building the confidence to speak out loud to your peers. Training teachers to encourage students to ask more questions is a great way to go about it. This would lead to students having interesting discussions which would be a lot more fun than trying to find the answer.