Exercise Idea: Unitaskers Bad, Multitaskers Good

Prodded by Alton Brown’s insistence that kitchen utensils, tools and appliances should be multitaskers, not unitaskers [kitchen space being part of the issue], I am thinking up an exercise to challenge students to be creative about this idea.

One concept is to suggest a common object, such as a wheelbarrow, and have students creatively list all the tasks that could be done with it. This is similar to the brick use story described in [??? update later].

The second concept is to provide an object to have in hand, then have students dream up a uniquely creative alternative use for the object. For example, [and I did not know it was already in use] manicurists use rice cookers to warm towels for their clients. [Reference: http://www.ehow.com/how_7733273_use-rice-cooker-towel-warmer.html]…and Alton Brown threw his rice cooker out the window because he said it was a unitasker! [Good Eats! Season 9 Episode 6 “Wake Up Little Sushi”] I use screwdrivers to dig up dandelion weeds; then again, I use my weeder to move around hot briquets in my BBQ. If you collected 52 rewards club cards, you could potentially make a stack of playing cards! Students would spend 10 to 15 minutes dreaming up their new task, then have 90 seconds [see http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703509104576331044032063796.html <- this is the article that got me thinking about the 90 second elevator pitch although a web search shows that there are many more articles on this topic] to cast out their idea in front of the group – there could be an easel pad for participants to sketch their ideas [but this would not truly be an elevator pitch any longer!]

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