Magazine article Parenting for High Potential

Inventions

Magazine article Parenting for High Potential

Inventions

Article excerpt

In 2014, the Invention category expanded the talent domains offered by the International Torrance Legacy Creativity Awards. Participants in the Invention category learn to apply critical thinking, problem-solving and scientific principles to design and create an original invention with real-world applicability. Because inventions relate to many aspects our lives and the world, the award addresses three diverse dimensions: (a) Arts & Leisure, (b) Science & Engineering, and (c) Toys & Games. Applicants submit a purpose summary in 300-500 words and a 3D graphic representation of the product. Qualified judges in the 2014 competition with teaching or professional experiences formed evaluation teams coordinated by Bo Andersen (Science & Engineering), Lori Byers (Arts & Leisure), and Angie Sauerwein (Toys & Games). The judging teams used a rubric to evaluate applications based on the following criteria: (a) conceptual development (40%), (b) problem-solving skills (35%), and (c) product presentation (25%).

Creativity and Inventiveness

Creativity is the "ability to produce work that is novel (e.g., original, unexpected), high in quality, and appropriate (e.g., useful, meets task constraints)."1 Researchers consider the creative process a dynamic movement between divergent-exploratory thinking and convergence-integrative synthesis in domain-specific talents.2 Those who invent new products or processes in a particular field need both divergent and convergent thinking skills to harness and transform innovative concepts into a workable and useful solution. While some great inventors such as Leonardo da Vinci contribute broadly across disciplines, many inventors create within a domain-specific talent.

Divergent Thinking Skills. Brainstorming techniques are used in creative problem-solving to generate many possible solutions. Other strategies that promote divergent thinking include writing journals, free writing, and play which encourage free-flowing, open-ended activities. Many famous inventors recorded their scientific observations and drawings in notebooks to document and retrieve valuable information. Thanks to Project Gutenberg, interested persons can view a translation of Leonardo da Vinci's extensive two-volume notebooks online without charge. Thomas A. Edison remarked, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." By gathering and recording many possible ideas, the chances of identifying a viable and unusual solution increases.

Convergent Thinking Skills. In contrast to divergent thinking, integrative/convergent thinking results in one response, similar to the "correct answer" expected by teachers in schools. Standardized tests, the Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV), and criterion-based exams in school rely on the empirical nature of convergent thinking for a well-established "right" answer. Strategies such as mind mapping draw ideas together to form logical connections between ideas in order to evaluate choices. The scientific method uses convergent thinking by analyzing data systematically in order to draw conclusion about the tested hypothesis.

Award Recipients

Although the three dimensions for the Inventions Award permit young inventors to create products within a variety of domain-specific talents, the processes all involve divergent and convergent thinking skills to conceptualize, develop, and present a unique and useful product of quality. …

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