For Coaches and Teachers, Mind Sprints, Resources, SCAMPER Technique

Getting the Most out of SCAMPER: M is for Magnify/Minify

Here we are the the midpoint of our SCAMPER acronym, but if you missed the background, S (Substitute), C (combine) or A (adapt) the posts are all waiting for you. So onwards and upwards, or as the case would be, bigwards and smallwards.

The M of SCAMPER stands for “Magnify,” or making things bigger. In a pinch, this is a great fallback when stuck during a brainstorming session or thinking about ways to change an object to put it to a new use. For instance, if you make a house key much larger, it can be used not only to open a comically large lock, but the big, sharp teeth would make it a great saw. Or a crouton could be an ideal raft in a giant bowl of soup. With a big enough tube of lipstick a person could paint a whole building, though I would avoid brush up against that exterior, the stains would be a nightmare!

On the other hand, the opposite side of magnify is “minify”, ie making things smaller. If a person were the size of Pekinese then they could live comfortably in a kennel, or if they were even smaller a whole town could move into your ventilation system. If pizzas are bite-sized you would be able to sample many different varieties without all those calories. There are lots of things that would be convenient to carry in your pocket if they were only a few inches tall, and think of all the cool stuff that could be worn as jewelry!

Another thing that can be made bigger or smaller is an idea. Taking “selfies” became a huge craze, but what about the next big thing for internet? Electric cars exist, but could there be consequences if everyone in the world had one? And right now in scientific circles people have re-opened the debate about whether or not Pluto is a planet. They have to decide if they are going to expand or limit the definition of what constitutes a planet, and there will be consequences of that decision.

So if you are looking for something to do during a USAT practice, you could try having your students practice making things bigger and smaller in their minds, and think of new uses for them once they’ve been changed.

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