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How to Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip

Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip. How to facilitate the ‘100 uses for a paper clip‘ exercise and align with unit standards. The ‘100 uses for a paper clip’ exercise is a powerful tool to ignite creative thinking and problem-solving skills.

Facilitator Guide: Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip

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Learn how to facilitate the activity and explore its impact on fostering innovation. Ideal for individuals, educators, and team-building activities. Get inspired and challenge conventional thinking today!

Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip to Inspire Creative Thinking

The “100 uses for a paper clip” exercise encourages participants to generate as many unique and imaginative ideas as possible for using a simple paper clip. Training facilitators can use the activity to help build teamwork, collaboration and communication skills in an engaging way. The “100 Uses” activity is particularly useful for breaking the ice between team members when they generate ideas together.

Interesting background facts about the “100 Uses for paper clips” exercise

A Step-by-step Guide on How to Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip

Benefits of using ‘100 Ways to Use a Paper Clip‘ in Learning Contexts

Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip and Spark Design Thinking

The ‘100 Ways to Use a Paper Clip‘ activity is perfect for training or workplace inductions. When used in educational settings with adults, the “100 ways to use a paper clip” exercise has many benefits:

design thinking - list 100 uses for a paper clip
  1. It fosters creativity: It encourages participants to think outside the box and come up with unconventional uses for a paper clip. This helps encourage creativity and innovation. This is particularly valuable in education settings where creativity and innovation are valued.
  2. It promotes problem-solving skills: The exercise also helps to develop problem-solving skills by encouraging participants to come up with practical and innovative solutions to a problem. This is useful in education settings where problem-solving is an essential skill.
  3. It encourages teamwork: The exercise can be used as a group activity, which encourages participants to work together and collaborate to generate ideas. This is useful when teamwork and collaboration are important skills.
  4. It can be adapted to different subjects: The “100 ways to use a paper clip” exercise can be adapted to different learning areas, making it a versatile tool for promoting learning and innovation. For example, it could be used in science to encourage students to think about the properties of materials and how they can be used in different ways.
  5. It’s low-cost and low-tech: Finally, the exercise is low-cost and low-tech, which makes it accessible to a wide range of educational settings. All that’s needed is a paper clip and a group of enthusiastic participants!

1. Introduce 100 Paper Clips and Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip

Start by explaining the purpose of the “100 Paper Clip Uses” and its benefits. Emphasize that the goal is to generate as many ideas as possible, regardless of their feasibility or practicality. Encourage participants to think outside the box and unleash their creativity.

collaborative storytelling

Facilitators Can Tell a Paper Clip Story: Interesting Paper Clip Facts

Add an interesting context or trivia to the “100 uses for a paper clip” activity! Make it more engaging and informative for participants.

  1. Invention: The modern paper clip design, known as the Gem clip, was invented in the late 19th century. It was created by Norwegian inventor Johan Vaaler, who received a patent for his design in 1899.
  2. Versatility: Paper clips are incredibly versatile tools. Aside from their conventional use for holding papers together, they can be used for a variety of purposes, such as removing SIM cards from smartphones, unclogging spray bottles, organizing cables, creating makeshift hooks, and even picking locks in rare cases.
  3. WWII Symbol: During World War II, wearing a paper clip on clothing became a symbol of resistance against Nazi occupation in Norway. It was a subtle way for Norwegians to express solidarity and opposition to the occupation.
  4. Sizes and Variations: Paper clips come in various sizes and shapes, including the standard Gem clip, jumbo clips, butterfly clips, and more. Each variation has its unique features and applications.
  5. Guinness World Record: The largest paper clip ever made was created in Kupang City, Indonesia, in 2008. It measured approximately 30 feet and weighed over 1,500 pounds, earning it a spot in the Guinness World Records.

2. Provide materials to facilitate 100 unconventional uses for a humble paper clip

You’ll need paper and pen, paper clip to play with for inspiration, 15 minutes and imagination. This activity can be an individual, pair or team experience.

Remind Participants: You are better than a paper clip. You are durable, you are flexible, you can achieve many different things if you focus on how creative you truly are.

exquisite cadaver collaborative writing

3. Facilitator Sets a time limit:

Specify a time limit for the activity. This can vary depending on the group size and the level of creativity you want to encourage. Typically, 5-10 minutes is a good duration to allow for rapid idea generation.

4. Learners start brainstorming 100 inventive ways to transform a paper clip into a versatile tool

Share, Collaborate and Strengthen

Instruct participants to come up with as many unique uses for a paper clip as they can within the given time frame. Encourage them to think creatively and build upon each other’s ideas. Remind them that there are no wrong answers in this exercise.

  • Working in teams of three or five, discuss the ideas and work together to flesh out the best and agree on the most outrageous ones.  Think of this as representing how you discuss problems with friends, family or colleagues.
  • Do you have a range of potential solutions to put forward or do you simply become trapped in the problem and the challenges?

5. How to Record Ideas When You Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip

Have participants write down their ideas on individual sheets of paper or provide a whiteboard or flip chart where they can share their suggestions. This step ensures that all ideas are captured and visible to the entire group.

6. How Learners Share Ideas When You Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip

Once the time is up, invite participants to share their ideas one by one. Encourage discussion and elaboration on each suggestion. This step allows participants to learn from each other and spark further creativity.

Once teams have released their creative mojo, ask them the following:

Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip and Create a Campaign using the Paper Clip as the Symbol

  • What if it was a weapon or a peace symbol?
  • What world record could it break if it was a champion?
  • How about if the paper clip was a metaphor?
  • What if it had an enemy?
  • What if the paperclip was a superhero?

7. Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip to Reflect and debrief:

After sharing the ideas, facilitate a discussion about the process and outcomes. Ask participants about their experience, the challenges they faced, and the most interesting or surprising ideas that emerged. Highlight the importance of creativity, open-mindedness, and the value of generating a large quantity of ideas.

Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip to Ignite Participant’s Confidence and Creativity:

  • Once the group is animated by the discussion, tell them to each create their own list. If the group is large, divide them into groups and let each group prepare a list. The person or group that reaches 100 first gets to read their list out. If other groups can add fresh ideas they can. It’s unnecessary to read each person or group list out.
  • Participants are often amazed by their ideas and then become curious about how many more they can produce. When they reach this tipping point they push themselves to generate more and more radical, funny, almost impossible ideas.
  • Those who push past 50 may start to realise that they have fallen into ‘idea patterns’ and that they need to find ‘fresh branches’ to hit the 100 mark and remain original.

Example: Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip

  • scratch a name on to glass
  • scratch a number on to clay
  • or scratch a car etc.

When we can think like this normally, around everyday events, we will be able to generate a range of solutions and possibilities for ourselves forever. No one can take your brain power away – only you can limit it.

Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip to Strengthen Learning Experiences

100 Uses for Paper Clips is a useful way to get learners to reflect upon how they solve and resolve situations in life and at work.

We often fall into patterns of reactions as opposed to trying fresh approaches. Have you ever felt as if you keep trying to do stuff but the same problems always hold you back? Use this activity to demonstrate patterns that can hold one back.

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How to Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip and Align to a Unit Standard

Unit standards are specific to the South African National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and may not directly apply to this exercise. However, the “100 Uses for a Paper Clip” activity contributes to the development of various critical cross-field outcomes, skills and competencies.

Examples of unit standards where facilitators could use the “100 uses for a paper clip” exercise:

  1. National Certificate in Generic Management:
    • Unit Standard ID: 120372 – Use mathematics to investigate and monitor the financial aspects of personal, business, national, and international issues.
    • Unit Standard ID: 120383 – Organise resources to meet defined objectives.
  2. National Certificate in Business Administration Services:
    • Unit Standard ID: 242829 – Apply efficient time management to the work of a department/division/section.
  3. National Certificate in Project Management:
    • Unit Standard ID: 120372 – Use mathematics to investigate and monitor the financial aspects of personal, business, national, and international issues.
    • Unit Standard ID: 120383 – Organise resources to meet defined objectives.

While these unit standards may not directly align with the activity, they represent skills and competencies such as creative thinking, problem-solving, time management, and resource organization, which can be enhanced through the “100 uses for a paper clip” exercise.

Facilitators Must Align “100 Paper Clip Uses” to Assessment Criteria

Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip to creatively utilize the mundane

If you want to align the “100 uses for a paper clip” activity with a specific unit standard, you can adapt the activity to serve as a means for learners to generate portfolio evidence.

Guide to Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip and Align for Assessment:

Planning To Facilitate 100 Uses for a Paper Clip

  1. Identify the Unit Standard: Determine the specific unit standard you want to align the activity to. Review the requirements and outcomes of the unit standard to understand the skills or knowledge it assesses.
  2. Contextualize the Activity: Consider how the “100 uses for a paper clip” activity can be connected to the unit standard. Identify the relevant skills, competencies, or knowledge that can be demonstrated through the activity.
  3. Create the lesson structure: Describe the purpose of aligning the activity with the unit standard and the specific requirements you need to focus on. Identify the expected learning outcomes and the criteria against which the learners’ portfolio of evidence will be assessed.
  4. Conduct the Activity: Facilitate the “100 uses for a paper clip” activity as described in the previous response. Encourage learners to think critically, apply problem-solving skills, and demonstrate creativity throughout the process. Emphasize the importance of generating a wide variety of ideas and documenting them effectively.

Facilitators Guide Learners to Generate Evidence for Assessment

  1. Document Evidence: Facilitators guide learners in documenting their ideas and the process they followed. This can include written descriptions, sketches, photographs, or any other suitable format. Encourage learners to reflect on their ideas, justify their choices, and highlight how their thinking aligns with the specific unit standard.
  2. Reflect and Assess: Once the activity is completed, facilitate a reflection session where learners can discuss their experiences and the alignment of their ideas with the unit standard. Assess the learners’ portfolio evidence based on the established criteria, ensuring that the evidence addresses the required skills, competencies, or knowledge outlined in the unit standard.
  3. Provide Feedback: Offer constructive feedback to learners based on the assessment of their portfolio evidence. Highlight their strengths and areas for improvement. Encourage learners to revise and refine their portfolio evidence based on the feedback received.

Finally, aligning the “100 uses for a paper clip” activity with a specific unit standard means learners can use it to generate portfolio evidence. Use this practical and engaging learning experience to assess the skills and competencies outlined in the unit standard.

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Leonie Hall

Leonie Hall, disruptive thinker and dynamic strategist, is an expert in education, development, quality management and innovation. She has spoken at local and international conferences; and currently works as an independent consultant and content developer. Contact Leonie for a consultation.

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