How to use this site    About Us    Submissions    Feedback    Donate    Links - School Assemblies for every season for everyone

Decorative image - Secondary

Email Twitter Facebook


Bendy bits of metal and random words

To consider the amazing creative potential of the human mind.

by Gordon Lamont

Suitable for Key Stage 3


To consider the amazing creative potential of the human mind.

Preparation and materials


  1. Hand out some paperclips to a selection of students and say that you are going to give them all just 30 seconds to come up with uses for ‘this object’ – don’t refer to it as a paperclip. Ask the students to pass the objects around so that others have a chance to ‘play’ with them.
  2. At the end of the 30 seconds ask for suggestions: what ideas have you come up with for using this object?

    Value all ideas – you might need to be ready for some of the less hygienic ones! If ideas are slow to come, point out that you saw several people bending the objects about so that’s one use: an executive desk toy, even a stress reliever!

    Other ideas might include: a small ruler; a TV aerial for a doll’s house; a stencil; a fingernail cleaner; emergency clothes fastening; and even … something for holding papers together!
  3. Point out that you avoided giving the object a name because once we give things names we think of them in a certain way – call it a paperclip and that’s all it is.

    Suggest to the students that they can use this ‘seeing things differently’ approach with any problem. Allow yourself to see things in a different way and maybe you’ll find a way forward.
  4. Choose one of the suggestions for what to do with the ‘paperclip’. Produce your dictionary and explain that the human mind has a seemingly infinite ability to make connections and create stories – and you’re all going to do that now. The starting point is the chosen use of the paperclip; the next element will be generated at random using the dictionary.

    Ask one student to open the dictionary at random and another student to point, without looking, at any word, then read it out – if necessary including the definition.
  5. Ask for suggestions – who can make a story link between your object and the word you’ve just generated?

    Take one suggestion and then generate another random word and feed this into the story. Point out that this is an excellent technique for when you get stuck with writing – generate a random word and see where it takes you.

Time for reflection

The human mind is amazing.

We make connections all the time. We’re always on the look-out for something new.

How will you use your creativity today?


Thank you for the creative spark within us all.

Thank you for stories, for connections, for fresh thoughts and new ideas.

Help me to use my creativity every day and in every way that I can.


Publication date: November 2008   (Vol.10 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
Print this page