It was interesting to read the 1st four chapters of The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander. I liked the idea in the first chapter where it is said "We see a map of the world, not the world itself. But what kind of map is the brain inclined to draw?" As a Social Studies teacher, I am constantly working with map a intangible items that I need to make tangible to my students. Yes, these items exists, but I cannot physically bring the White House and the Capitol building into my classroom when I talk about the separation of powers. This is the big picture that I got from these chapters. We have to think outside of what we perceive and look at the bigger picture. The exercise of the nine dots is a perfect example. To be able to connect all the dots with four straight lines, you have to do something unorthodox. You have to, as the authors state "extend beyond the borders that confine us to our everyday reality." This is an important concept that we can instill in our own classrooms.
It really is all about teaching the content and allowing our students to relate it to things they do know or comprehend. Going along your lines with the nine dot game. You had to think 'out of the box' as they put it to solve the problem. Its funny how sometimes when I am teaching a concept, I really have to think like a 7th grader to get the point across. I know its not a huge age difference but times have changed since I was a 7th grader, so even for me this is thinking 'outside the box'. It always makes it more enjoyable when we can have a laugh about how "uncool" I am trying to be hip like a 7th grader. My kids get a kick out of it, and yet still learn in the process.