Quiz Yourself – Examples of Divergent and Convergent Thinking

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Now that you’ve learned or refreshed your memory on the differences between convergent thinking and divergent thinking, let’s look at the application in learning. Can you determine which is which? It’s important that you can because it’s up to you, parent or teacher, to advocate for more divergent learning in the classroom.

Linear thinkingor convergent thinking, is about learning facts, follow instructions, and solving problems with one right answer.

Divergent thinking is generating unique solutions and seeing various possibilities in response to questions and problems.

Divergent and Convergent Thinking

Divergent and Convergent Thinking

Ready for your Quiz?

(& what kind of thinking is this quiz anyway?)

1. Shape Person Made In JJ’s Kindergarten – 5 years old
Is this a convergent or divergent learning activity?


Divergent and Convergent Thinking

Convergent.

Why? Because the shapes had to go where the teacher said, to make a person, and there is a right answer.

It could have been divergent if the teacher had allowed for the learner to put the shapes anywhere. Now that would have been cool!

2. JJ’s Book Cover – 3 years old

Is this a convergent or divergent learning activity?

Divergent and Convergent Thinking

Divergent. JJ’s using shapes and lines to write and illustrate where she chooses. There is no right answer.

3. Bodie’s Heart Made in Vacation Bible School – 2 years old

Is this a convergent or divergent learning activity?

Divergent and Convergent Thinking

Convergent. The heart looks like an adult did it, not a two-year old since the heart is glued in place, the glue dots and sequens are bordering the heart very nice and tidy.

What would have made this divergent? Letting Bodie do whatever he wanted with the supplies. Letting him use a glue stick to do his own glue, allowing him to make a sideways shape with sequence piled one on top of each other – or whatever he wanted.

4. Montessori Object Box from Etsy

Is this a convergent or divergent learning activity?

Divergent and Convergent Thinking

What do you think? Convergent or Divergent?

5. Lego Kits – AJ’s – 9 years old

Is this a convergent or divergent learning activity?

Divergent and Convergent Thinking

What do you think?

6. Box of Legos – 4 +

Is this a convergent or divergent learning activity?

Divergent and Convergent Thinking

What do you think?

7. Cut and Paste Worksheet (example from JJ’s kindergarten “literacy” rotation) – 5 years old

Is this a convergent or divergent learning activity?

Divergent and Convergent Thinking

What do you think?

8. 3rd grade news article worksheet – 8 years old – can you find both kinds of thinking?

Is this a convergent or divergent learning activity?

Divergent and Convergent Thinking

What do you think?

9. Synthesis Worksheet – 8 years old – (Hint: not all worksheets are convergent learning)

Is this a convergent or divergent learning activity?

Divergent and Convergent Thinking

What do you think?

Comment below and tell me what you think and why you think so!! 🙂

Have you seen the blog, Think? If not, stop by and try her divergent thinking activities – you’ll love them!

Teacher friend, Diane Dahl, writes about teaching her kids thinking skills helped her survive the year.

Divergent and Convergent Thinking

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14 Responses

  1. Thanks for the hat tip! Love your site and often pass it along on Facebook!

  2. It feels like what’s best for students is nearly impossible to nurture with mandates from NCLB and SEI requirements from the state (AZ) controlling what happens in the classroom. How can divergent thinking be nurtured when we have to teach specific subjects for a specific number of minutes and we are reprimanded when we we’re not on schedule? When teaching time each quarter is shortened by 2 weeks in order to give standardized tests that do nothing to inform our teaching? Why aren’t policy makers aware of articles such as this?

    1. Windy, I wish I had a good answer for you – it seems stunningly ignorant of lawmakers to ignore best practices and decades of research about learning. I think a big problem is that we have policy makers that aren’t educators – or if they are educators, they weren’t highly-skilled.

      This fall, I spoke with a Colorado senator who gave me some great suggestions for influencing policy – she said to share personal stories. Tell the story of how a child is languishing in your classroom – make it real for elected officials. (I better write more about this, I’m realizing!) Also, be sure to say that you are a constituant so the person takes you seriously as a voter.

      If we take away a teacher’s ability to teach children and force her to teach curriculum, children lose and teachers lose. It’s lose-lose right now – unless you have a good principal who trusts you as a professional.

      Do what you can – your kids will thank you! 🙂

      Melissa

      1. I personally think this is a very good question and answer that followed. We as parents, teachers, supporters and counselors have to come together about this matter and address this to better educate our kids to become creative and divergent thinkers for a more proficient and self motivated evolution for their future. i enjoyed this site and article and made me more conscious of what divergent and creative thinking is about. Thank you!

  3. Valuable article! The pictures were great. I could look at a whole book of picture examples of the convergent vs divergent thinking. I hope I focus on divergent thinking at home because I know they get a lot of convergent thinking at school. But, reading this has made me want to reanalyze as we go about our time together the next few weeks.

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    Hi! I’m Melissa Taylor, mom, writer, & former elementary teacher & literacy trainer. I love sharing good books & fun learning resources.

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