Elementary Gateway December 2022 Newsletter
Convergent or Divergent Thinking: Which is Best?
Students in grades one through three participating in Tier 3 Gateway supports have been exercising their critical thinking skills. Students have been introduced to several approaches to problem solving. Two approaches we have practiced are convergent and divergent thinking.
Divergent thinking uses brainstorming and creative thinking to generate many possible solutions. It is the ability to come up with multiple solutions to one idea or prompt. Convergent thinking requires students to analyze a problem using clues and logic to solve the problem. It focuses on finding the single, correct solution to any problem.
First graders are introduced to this as Detective (convergent) and Inventor (divergent) thinking. Second and third graders practice convergent thinking by analyzing clues to solve logic elimination problems. Divergent thinking is practiced with brainstorming and creative thinking.
Which thinking skill is best? Both! Convergent and divergent problem solving is important for school success and working with a team. Convergent thinkers are often efficient with solving a problem while divergent thinkers are flexible and present many possible solutions to a task.
How can you practice convergent and divergent thinking at home?
Scientific experiments and baking are great examples of convergent thinking. Both tasks follow a logical sequence of events to arrive at a solution.
Many simple activities and conversation starters can practice divergent thinking, too. For example, “How many uses can we think of for a paperclip?” or “You have to get from Earth to the moon in one day. You cannot use a spaceship. How will you get there?”
Have fun while exercising your brains!
Mrs. Tabor & Mrs. Zontini