## Thursday, November 4, 2010

### The Power of Limits 3: The Lotus Arts Village

Stephen Nachmanovitch, in his book Free Play: The Power of Improvisation in Life and the Arts, includes a chapter titled 'The Power of Limits.'  This is the third in a series of posts inspired by this chapter, exploring how limits not only enhance creative problem solving but are actually a requirement of such a process.

I've raved before about where I live and how the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival is one of the best things, out of many best things, about our amazing city of Bloomington, IN.   Here's what I found on their blog today, which speaks to this theme of working within one's limits:

Every year, as we devise projects for the Lotus Arts Village, one of our biggest challenges is simply wading through the flood of ideas that evolve into project plans. [...] The urge to “go big” is strong, even though resources are always limited. But the artistic imagination recognizes few boundaries, and the Festival is an opportunity for all of us to dream of new realities … and to stretch ever further to create beauty.
You can read the full post here.  And then you will want to come to Bloomington for next year's festival by buying tickets here!

So far I've been finding a lot of arts-based examples of creative problem solving, but my intent is to try to illustrate non-arts based creativity as well.  Any ideas?

#### 1 comment:

1. Creative problem solving, huh? Well, I had read a few different pieces about how bad textbooks are in math class, and wanted to start teaching without leaning so much on the textbook. As I thought about the material we 'cover' in beginning algebra, it began to seem like a play.

There's the prologue, where we review what's come before. Then in Act I, we look at linear equations and functions, solving and graphing. There's an interlude where we deal with exponents and scientific notation, and then in Act II, we look at quadratic equations and functions, factoring, solving, and graphing (parabolas). Anything that didn't fit that framework, I thought of as the Epilogue.

I wanted to go see a participatory play, so I could try to model my course in the same way, but I didn't get around to that. I didn't use this idea in class a whole lot, but it did help me organize the material in my head. I'm happy with how this model helped me organize the course.

Now I'm trying to organize my thinking for intermediate algebra, and for calc II. I'm going to stick with the book more in calc II, just so I don't have to redesign more than one course this semester.

I don't know if all this is anything like what you had in mind, but it is my creative problem solving process.

Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!