Christopher Blunsdon's grade 8 students got a lesson in lateral thinking from NASA. Yes, that's right: NASA.
In their class, he showed a clip from the film Apollo 13. It served as their lesson in innovation. The short video showed NASA engineers making a device that will lower the CO2 levels inside the spacecraft using only the items available to Tom Hanks and fellow astronauts.
"They saved their lives using random stuff like we have here," Blunsdon said.
This is lateral thinking, he told the class, meaning taking something and using it for another purpose.
That is what the students are tasked to do today in the next step of their entrepreneurial adventure.
Using a sample bag of materials collected at the REfficent warehouse, the budding entrepreneurs had to put their creative hats on and learn how to repurpose cords, circuit boards and TV controllers into something usable and attractive.
Hunter, Derek, Matthew, Cole and Avery, among other groups, are thinking about a picture frame. Scott, Emilie, McKayla and David try to design a stress ball. Using a calculator as a place holder, Tiffanie, Grace, Sydney and Tiffany make an iPod holder.
Blunsdon plays "devil's advocate."
"How would you make that into something I would buy?" he asks the girls.
"We'd paint it and make it look pretty," Grace said.
Their teacher isn't fully convinced.
The girls write out an action plan.
At the end of class, the students still have ideas — no concrete plans which they need to have very soon.
They seem unfazed, but content with the process.
"We get to invent something," Kyla said, whose group is working on a board game. "Every kid invented stuff, and now we get to do it in class."
So, the innovation continues. Watch the audio slideshow above to see innovation through the eyes of 13-year-olds.