Teaching Creative Problem-Solving to Children

Bob Eberle and Bob Stanish agree that creative problem-solving is a basic skill and a good sense approach to modern day living and learning. As a practical style of learning, creative problem-solving has significant transfer value.

CPS: Creative Problem-solvings for Kids In their book, “CPS for Kids: A Resource Book for Teaching Creative Problem-Solving to Children”, Eberle and Stanish share their 6-step approach to creative problem-solving. They show how to start with becoming more alert and developing an awareness which stimulates recognition of situations or conditions that need improvement or correction. From this starting point of becoming more observant, the reader is led to the point of generating creative ideas with potential solutions to the problems at hand. But the process doesn’t end with an idea. No, it takes the reader all the way through to a final step that is often omitted when problem-solving techniques are taught. Solution-finding is only part of the end product. Implementing a workable solution is the rest of the end product, and the final step in Eberle’s and Stanish’s process. The reader is taken all the way from waking up to the call for solutions, to developing the final plan to implement their best solution.

While this book emphasizes application in the elementary school environment, its value in teaching at all levels should not be under-estimated. Students need to be challenged to think, and this book helps teachers, parents, and students alike to seek out those challenges and to embrace them enthusiastically.


Mathematics as a Family Activity

Mathematics doesn’t belong exclusively in the maths classroom. Parents can, and should, integrate it in a number of enjoyable family activities. In most cases, when they are enjoying themselves, children will not even be aware that they are developing their mathematical skills as they play. Do parents require special skills or need to take some course to encourage their children to develop basic mathematical skills early? Fortunately not. In fact, you don’t even need to be “good at Mathematics” to have fun with your kids. And that is the key: fun. Children need to learn that addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division (and later calculus and trigonometry) are not just useless, intimidating procedures weighing down their homework. The best way for children to learn this, is to learn it without directly associating the learning with formal Mathematics.

As part of this blog, I will share some of the mathematics-oriented family activities that I enjoy, and which don’t require special training. Some of these ideas will be so obvious and “everyday” that you will wonder why you haven’t been “playing” all along. Join me as we explore these ideas and develop them into games for the whole family.