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Inventors use imagination to challenge the status quo and envision new possibilities.

Inventors use imagination to challenge the status quo and envision new possibilities.
The most important word is ‘yet.’ Eliana, age 4

Children use their imagination to envision new possibilities when adults…

  • deliberately invite children to dream, imagine, and create metaphors or mental images
  • are intentional about the use of story and give children ample time to create and rewrite their own stories
  • expect children to use materials to make connections and to develop and express their thinking in different ways
  • explicitly teach children critical thinking strategies and regularly challenge them to shift perspective

Teachers envision new possibilities and model change-making when they…

  • imagine “going big” to share children’s ideas beyond the classroom
  • intentionally connect personal, local, and global issues through a practice of teacher-research
  • actively seek resources that connect to children’s questions and theories
  • consider the impact of children’s work in the classroom on the society at large

Related Tools

Planning for Invention Student Worksheet

Use this tool when children are ready to develop a project or invention.

View PDF

Exploding Systems with Human Machines

Use this tool to deepen children’s understanding of how complex systems can be influenced (after you have tried Exploring Systems).

View PDF

Windows into Practice

Invention as Social Justice

An Opal School alumnus reflects on her 5th-grade invention of dolls that extend connectedness and identity.
Classroom Video

Marching for Love

A school community responds to the violence that surrounds it.
Blog Post and Video

This Practice is guided by Principles