“The curious mind cannot be chained. It is a free mind – endlessly searching. It makes one complete and peaceful within.”

The Outer Limits


Did you ever watch the 1960’s Sci-Fi television show The Outer Limits? At the beginning of each episode, the narrator presented some related, deep-thinking viewpoints about the upcoming story. The episode ended with several tantalizing questions or profound statements.

Each one began with the intrigue of, “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission.”

I confess, as a 10-year-old, I was always fascinated with those statements. Long after the TV show was over, I was left wondering, pondering, and agonizing about the unknown. Back then you really had to listen very carefully, as home video recording did not exist and there was no rewind button.

I was always left with a long string of my own tangential “What if” statements running through my head.

This week we read, in The New York Times, an article by Matt Richtel entitled: To Encourage Creativity in Kids, Ask Them: ‘What if’? The author read his new children’s book to a class of second grade students and proceeded to ask them, “What if?” As you can imagine the results were unpredictable and energized the dendrites of the whole class!

Dr. John Dacey states the “what if” activity “is a great way to encourage a laid-back, nonjudgmental approach to open-ended thinking.”

Perhaps the most important question even uttered by humans is “What if?” Take a moment and think about what our world would be like without the provocations of “What if” questioning?

We are all familiar with the following afterschool refrain: “What did you do in school today?”  “Nothin’.” Ready to get more dendrites involved? Give these a try:

  • What did you wonder about today?
  •  What did you consider today?
  • What do you predict might happen tomorrow?
  •  How have you stretched your brain today?
  • What confused you today?
  • What did you challenge today?
  • What did you question today?

 Research shows that the typical teacher asks 300 - 400 questions during the school day. Most of these questions are “low level”, requiring the students to focus on the memorization and recall of facts.

What if,

  • this was reversed and students were asking the greater number of questions?
  • all low-level questions were done with APPS & other Augmented Intelligence devices
  •  more time was allotted for “What if” discussions?
  • we all had six fingers?

Here’s a list of our versions of “What If” question stems that can be used to keep em’ thinking creatively!


“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.”

Walt Streightiff

“We now return control of your television set to you. Until next week at the same time, when the control voice will take you to – The Outer Limits.”

Live creatively and prosper!

Patti & Rick Shade

Founders – Curiosita Teaching™


Thanks for reading! 

Our goal is to help as many parents and educators as we can. If you know of others interested in parenting and teaching with and for creativity, please forward.