TRIZ Textbooks:  CID Course for Children, 2-1G234
Adventures in Fantasy City. 

Topic 2.  Morphological Box (Method of Fantastic Subtraction)
Topic 3.  Unusual Inhabitants of Fantasy City (Animation Method)
Topic 4.  Magic Shop (Method of Focal Objects)

Fantasy City:
Course of Creative Imagination Development (CID), 
2nd Grade, 1st Semester, Methodical Guide-Book
Natalia V. Rubina, 1999 [published in Russian]
English translation by Irina Dolina, April 2, 2001
Technical Editing by Toru Nakagawa, July 15, 2001
Posted in this "TRIZ Home Page in Japan" in English on Jul. 17, 2001 under the permission of the Author.
(C) N.V. Rubina, I. Dolina, and T. Nakagawa 2001

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Adventures in Fantasy City
     In the first part of CID Course for the second grade the methods of creative thinking were considered: a morphological analysis, a method of fantastic subtraction, a method of focal objects, a technique of obtaining fantastic ideas - fantograms.  The main pedagogical task is to teach the children to receive original ideas with the help of given means and methods, changing familiar systems or designing the new ones.

     The basis of system thinking, laid in the CID Course for the first grade, must become the foundation for studying the given methods.  Changed (or new) system is subordinated to the same laws of system function: consists of interdependent parts; has certain properties; fulfills given functions; is a part of a super-system; and changes in time.  Such approach helps to teach the kids gradually to predict both positive and negative consequences of the changes in the systems.

     One of the peculiar characteristics of CID Course is the fact that while preparing for the lessons it is necessary to keep in mind simultaneously a few directions in conducting the class:

  • developing the system thinking and associative-imaginative thinking;
  • teaching the method of solving the creative problems;
  • psycho-correction;
  • general plot;
  • working with the information (general direction – having card index), cognitive information.
  •      Moreover, each teacher can fill the classes with the most interesting content from his point of view, preserving the structure of both, single activities and the lessons on the whole.  It is important that you can single out the results of learning: the children must fully master the methods of obtaining new ideas, the system approach in studying the objects and phenomena, understanding the advantages of solving creative problems not by probing but with the help of a certain method.

          One more important thing in conducting the classes is getting the finished creative product in the course of studying and mastering given methods and devices.  At the same time several methodic aims are being achieved:

  • A definite result is one of the strongest stimulus for further successful work;
  • These methods are a strong instrument for understanding the world around, for developing creative abilities of the children.  Having mastered this instrument, the students begin to study other sciences more seriously, understanding the whole world picture.
  • It is not always easy for the elementary school students to bring their work to the end, to make themselves do the work several times so it become interesting and understandable for their classmates and the teacher.  The creative assignments, stirring the children’s real interest, mobilize their inner resources towards understanding themselves and the world, towards creative activity.

    Topic 2.  Morphological Box 
    (Method of Fantastic Subtraction)
         G. S. Altshuller summed up the methods of creative thinking activation and applied them for increasing the effectiveness of solving creative problems.  Application of these methods for developing the creative imagination and for overcoming psychological inertia brings good results.  Mastering and active using of these knowledge is an excellent preparation for studying principally different approach to solving creative problems, i.e. the TRIZ theory by G. S. Altshuller.  The most full description of the methods of stimulating creative thinking and their practical use can be found in the collection edited by G. S. Altshuller: “Theory And Practice Of Solving Inventive Problems”, Gorkii, 1976.  Extracts from this book are included in the commentaries to the corresponding topics in this methodic text book:

         “One of the drawbacks of the method of trial and errors is in the fact that the most interesting options of a problem solving might not get into the field of vision.  The perfect solution would be to have a list of all the possible options.  Probably, these attractive possibilities have occurred to many people.  And psychologists often would describe the process of creativity as a choice of one option from the list of all options.
         Actually, an inventor never has a “full” list.  On receiving a task, it is not difficult to begin making such a list of options (sometimes, it is the way to do it), but those will be only the options, which have got in the field of vision of an inventor, but not all of them…
         It would be fine to have a special method which would really help to embrace all the possible options.  The morphological analysis (MA) is such a method, or to be precise, nearly such a method.”
                   G. S. Altshuller: "Theory And Practice Of Solving Inventive Problems", Gorkii, 1976, p. 49.

    1.  Warming-up

    The games for developing the attention and the memory (“Card Index of CID Course for the second grade”)
    2.  Home-work
    Choosing the topic and the first cards.
    3.  Introduction to the lesson
        Emil and Colabo are going to their friends’ party.  They prepared an unusual present  –  a new toy.  And how about you?  Can you design new toys?

    4.  Main topic

         The essence of the method is as follows:  the main properties of the system under consideration are singled out and for every property a list of possible options is made.  The morphological chart makes it possible to see all the solutions better.

         What does a toy consist of?  Fill the first column of the morphological chart.

         You may remind the children of the activities from CID Course for the first grade on dividing the systems into sub-systems, for example, “Prove that you have many objects but not one.”, “Fill the chart: system – sub-systems” and others.
         If the parts of the toy are big enough (for example, the head as a whole but not the eyes, mouth, nose separately), they are easy to sketch; by all means include something unusual, e.g. an engine, a wheel, wings etc.

         And now name all the options of the toy parts.  Fill all the other columns.
              \     What are they?
    Parts of a system \


    So, Morphological Chart  is a method of searching for new ideas, that helps to consider all possible options.  The American astronomer, Tsvikki, was the first who presented the method of the morphological charts in 1942.

         Draw a picture of your toy here.
          Would you like to know it better?  Carry out the following assignment.
    1. Give a name to a toy.
    2. Place it mentally into a screen in the system operator.  Fill in all the other screens.

        If you connect the parts from different columns, you will get your only toy.

         Make up rules to play with your toy.

         Remind the children of the story about a glass umbrella ("CID Course for the first grade”, topic “Glass City”).  Ask one of the students to draw a picture of his toy on the blackboard and together with the whole class make up a story about this character, using the diagram of a system operator.  At home the children may make up a story about their toy and think how to play with it, if it has unusual properties designed by the students themselves.

    5.  Psycho-technical and developing games

         An interesting psycho-technical activity in the framework of this topic will be an task to imagine that you are a toy. Ask the students to move like their character, to make appropriate sounds, to describe what kind of world they see as a toy.

         Activity 1.  Imagine a city, which doesn’t have a single toy.  What changes will take place in the life of its people?  What is good and what is bad in this city without toys?

        Method of fantastic subtraction was presented by a famous Italian story-teller G. Rodari.  It makes it possible to demonstrate vividly the functions of this system, its place in a super-system, and to observe interconnections between the system and its super-system.

    7.  Sum up

         The method of a morphological chart is to be used when you solve the problems, in which it is necessary to take into consideration as many options of changes in systems as possible or to present the maximum number of changes options.  On the basis of  systematized data about the system, with the help of this chart, it is possible to predict its development or the ways of its improvement and to find its place in the framework of the similar systems.  And the children learn to understand the basis of analysis and synthesis and the basis of classification.

         In order to confirm the obtained skills, it seems appropriate to present as a home-work an independent work with the chart (to design a new character for an animation, a new version of  “Chupa-Chups” and so on).

    Topic 3.  Unusual Inhabitants of Fantasy City.
    (Animation Method)
         At the lesson of teaching Grammar in the first grade (the teacher G. N. Volodina), the children together with the teacher travel in the Kingdom of Letters.  The Queen told them what elements her subjects (i.e. each letter) consist of, revealing the special features of its character, and helped the children to write beautifully and correctly first separate letters, then syllables and finally words.  Such a transformation of the letters into characters of a fairy tale narration makes for the kids the work that demands patience and perseverance – the qualities that are not so characteristic for the elementary school students – more interesting and fascinating.  I was very much surprised to see how the first-graders during the whole lesson were thoroughly tracing out “the leg of a ballet dancer”, “the nest”, ”the soldier’s gun” and they didn’t get tired or didn’t lose an interest in what they were doing, but tried to finish their assignment and to get the necessary results.

         I am sure that you also can remember lots of examples of applying the method of animation in the work at various lessons.  I would like, however, to draw your attention to an essential difference of the work with this method at CID lesson.  The main task of the lesson on the topic “Unusual Inhabitants of Fantasy City” is:

         Having mastered this method at CID lesson, the children can apply it at any other lesson.  Thus, the teacher can use the method of animation as an instrument for working.  Created by this means the images stimulate cognitive sphere of a child and it makes it easier to memorize and understand the complicated notions and regularities.

    1.  Warming-up

         “The Card Index to CID lessons for the second grade”, section “Gestures and mimicry”.  The task like: “what is feeling or doing the depicted person”, “what this drawing means” and so on, must be followed by the questions: “what object does the person of such an appearance or  behavior remind you?”, "which  features of this person remind you of this or that object?”

    2.  Homework

    Read out 2 or 3 best works on the topic “Morphological Box”.
    3.  Introduction to the lesson
    Tell me, please, who have left at home a pen, a pencil or an eraser, today?  Why haven’t your pencil boxes reminded you of them?
    4.  Main topic

         Emil has a pencil box, that every morning checks if the boy has taken to school everything he needs.  What an attentive and considerate pencil box!…

         Do you know that all things, all objects in Fantasy City have mind of their own and their own habits?  Do you want to get acquainted with them?

         Choose any system on your desk.  What is it like?

         Here it is necessary that the children pay attention to purely outward properties, but characteristic only for this particular system.
    What properties of a temper, do you think, may belong to a person with a similar appearance? Write down here opposite properties of a temper:

         Make a picture of your system in such a way that makes it clear which properties of a disposition belong to your character.
         In every fairy tale besides a kind and cheerful character there is a vicious or cunning character or a character “upside down”.

     Draw a picture of a character "upside down"..

    your new friend  the character "upside down"

    5.  Psycho-technical and developing games
         In order to make the children feel one of designed characters, you may help them to prepare and play out the scenes from school life, where those characters act.

    6.  Activities on speech developing or designing a creative product

         Write down here a short story about your new friends – the inhabitants of Fantasy City.


    7.  Sum up

         Home work:  Find examples of using the method of animation and write them down on a Card Index in the end of your workbook .

    Topic 4.  Magic Shop 
    (Method of Focal Objects)
          “The morphological analysis singles out in a system under consideration only the properties that are characteristic to it.  But yet we get unexpected combinations of the properties.  And what if we transfer the properties of other objects, chosen casually, to the system being improved?  Then the number of unusual, unexpected options will increase sharply.
         This idea has become a basis for the method of focal objects.
         Thus, the method of focal objects recommends to transfer the properties of some other objects to the object that is being improved, which, in this case, is situated, so to say, in the focus of a transfer.  After the transfer is completed, unusual combinations appear.  They  can be developed with the help of free associations, and then useful solutions should be chosen.
         The method of focal objects in its initial form was known under the title of “ catalogue method”, presented by F. Kunts, professor of Berlin University in 1926.  Later, in the fifties, it was improved by C. Whiting, an American who worked in the field of invention methodology.”
              G. S. Altshuller: "Theory And Practice Of Solving Inventive Problems", Gorkii, 1976, p. 54.

    1.  Warming-up

    “Card Index to the CID lessons for the second grade” training of “comparison”
    2.  Homework
    To read out the best cards.
    3.  Introduction to the lesson
        The magician Deli-Davai decided to get a job.  He found out that in Fantasy City there is a store “MFO”.  The store director gave the magician a small test.  The store “MFO” sells unusual things: nice smelling clocks, fluffy lamps, a racing calendar… What else to design?

    4.  Main topic

         And then Deli-Davai learned to obtain new ideas with the help of the Method of Focal Objects.

         So, choose a system, which we are going to change:

         Now name, without thinking, any 4 systems:
         Enumerate the properties of these systems and fill in the chart:
         The system we want to change is in “the focus” of 4 others.  That is why the method, with the help of which we changed the system, is called “the method of focal objects”.

         The combination of this system and the properties, enumerated by you, write out here:

    6.  Activities on speech developing and designing a creative product

         Supplement your ideas with some details.  For example, make up a story, in which somebody purchased the article you designed, and tell what happened…

         This work was performed at the Russian language lesson in the fifth grade (the teacher M. V. Rozhkova).  The method of focal objects brings good results in the sphere of speech developing.

    The Cow’s Car
         Once a cow bought a car, not ordinary but a school bus.  So, she began to give a ride to the kids who were late for school.  While the kids were at school, she delivered milk according to orders.  The Cow used the money she earned for buying gasoline and grass as there was no good grass in town!  And every time the kids were being late for school they would say to their parents: “I will be in time- I’ll go by the Cow's car!”.
              Chebotaryev Maxim, fifth grade, School #17, Petrozavodsk

         Do you think the Magician has got the job?

    7 . Sum up

         Home-work:  Make up an advertisement for the product which you have designed for the MFO store.

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