Imagination + Box = Opportunities

Antoinette Portis, (2006). Not a Box. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

When is a box not a box?

Well, to Grade 5 students at HKIS , possibly all the time.

Channeling creation, innovation, and engineering Todd Hollett, the new Tech Coach at UPS, kicked off the school year with lesson using a book and a box. He visited Grade 5 classrooms and read aloud the picture book, Not a Box by Antoinette Portis. They explored how a discarded box holds much more possibilities than a transport medium for new library books.


Antoinette Portis, (2006). Not a Box. New York, New York: HarperCollins.

The book captures what students and inventors of all ages see when they see something the rest of the world views as ordinary. The author’s simple drawing of a rabbit and her box set the stage for the reader’s start of a creative journey. We move from box to Race Car to Rabbit Peak to FireRescue and end up on a Spaceship. Imagination is a powerful learning resource that needs exercise, dreams, and possibilities.  At only 15 pages, the book is a quick read yet, serves as a springboard for introducing the Maker culture in the classroom.

Students partnered-up, received a box donated from the library’s new book shipment, and received only the simple instructions to create their own “Not-a-box.” Impressively, partners moved quickly through an informal design cycle process. notaboxducks2They spent time ideating possibilities, gathered resources, and started planning their ideas.  Within five minutes, they were creating their own works of art, clothing, race cars, or houses for their family pets; truly showing that a simple box hold endless possibilities and hours of enjoyment to all those that see it as a “not-a-box.”

Here’s to the creative ones. We need you “not-a-box” thinkers!  Please continue to to think outside the box and create opportunities for our students to explore, create, innovate, and engineer their imaginations into realities. We are all in this together and we cannot do it alone. Please share your own “not-a-box” moments and creation in the comments below or by tweeting #HKISengage and #notabox.

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