experiments, instruments & measurement book

Ideas on Wheels


By Jessica Rothbart

When thinking about Jewish education, do you start with the problem or do you get stuck with the obvious solution? Hopefully, wherever you are more comfortable starting, you end up in a more innovative and creative place than you thought you would. We’ve heard about thinking outside the box, and in the Coalition of Innovating Congregations, we talk about thinking beyond the classroom. In the book Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity by Keith Sawyer, he asks you to take a problem and before you try and solve it, try to formulate your question differently 10 times. Do you come up with different questions than you thought? Hopefully. But most importantly, it’s a first step in challenges the assumptions that each of us make when answering questions.

Cole Galloway, a researcher in the infant lab at the University of Delaware faced the problem of mobility in children with cognitive and physical disabilities. His mission is to fill  “’an exploration gap’ — the difference between typically developing children and those who suffer from mobility issues due to conditions like cerebral palsy and Down syndrome.” So he made being mobile a little more fun! Instead of using motorized wheelchairs for children younger than five, he is adjusting kids motor cars for every day functionality. The article, which you can read HERE, features a picture of a child who is driving the Disney film Cars’ Mater the tow truck (with improved safety precautions).  This creative solution in action isn’t just cute, it’s inspirational. The next time you’re stuck on a problem, try thinking about it from a different angle or questioning the assumptions you’re making about the solution. Or maybe just take a walk around a Toys “R” Us.


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