I was introducing SuperFlex (by Social Thinking) to some new students. One student was having a really tough time understanding how his brain could be ‘flexible’. I explained how his not his brain, but his thinking, needed to be flexible. Again, I was met with, “How can my thinking be flexible?” I could see I needed to think outside of the box for this one.
After some trial runs, I found a way to, hopefully, demonstrate the concept of ‘flexible thinking’. With the help of tissue paper, plastic wrap, a sharpie, and some classroom objects I managed to create a demonstration. I drew brains on the tissue paper and on the plastic wrap.
I explained that when we think flexibly, our brain can take in all the information around us, instead of only a few things. This helps us think and work through situations. I had two students hold the plastic wrap tight and began to place items on it ( a bottle of glue, book, tape, etc ). As the items were added the plastic wrap stretched. I explained that the items were information and when we are thinking flexibly our brains ‘stretch’ to take it all in.
Next they held the tissue paper and we repeated the same process. The tissue paper represented our brains when we are not thinking flexibly. When more and more ‘information’ was added the tissue paper broke. I explained when we only allow ourselves to think about parts of a situation, it can be hard for our brains to process it and we can have a breakdown in communication.
After seeing what ‘thinking flexibly’ was, my student seemed to have a better grasp on the concept. Have you ever done any ‘flexibility’ demonstrations before?
To help myself track some of the, difficult to quantify social language/pragmatic goals that we focus on when we use Social Thinking, I use these Social Language and Pragmatic Rubrics. They have been sooo helpful for teachers and parents. You can find them in my TpT store here.
Very nice visual activity to explain a complex concept! I will definitely use this–thank you!
Thanks so much 🙂
Great idea! I’m doing my first ever Social Thinking groups this summer and I will use this idea FOR SURE!
I would love to hear what your kids thought about it!
Stumbled across this activity while pinning different activities for flexible thinking, since the word of the week at camp is “flexible”. This activity was great! I used it with 2 groups of 3, boys with average-higher functioning autism. They loved this activity (especially seeing how much stuff from around the classroom they could add onto the plastic wrap)! Thank you so much for sharing! This activity will forever be in my toolbox.
Thanks so much Ashley 🙂 I am so glad your kids enjoyed the activity. It is amazing how much plastic wrap stretch ( just like their minds )
Bravo! What an amazing idea! I am going to definitely try this with my kids!
Thank you Laura 🙂
I love this idea, Maureen! I’ll definitely try it with my students! Thank you!
This is fabulous!! Can’t wait to try it in my Social Skills Groups. Thanks so much for sharing.
I have used a ‘Jell-o Brain’ made in a brain a mold alongside a brain that was solid and immobile. I like your demo idea better as it provides a visual for the information that we need to add and consider! Looking forward to trying it!
I love using the Jell-O brain activity