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Purdue Creative Thinking Program, Third Edition
Gifted Education Resource Institute, School of Education
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Directed by John F. Feldhusen

Originally titled Creative Thinking: The American Pioneers, this is a series of programs designed to stimulate creative talent and develop a better understanding of the nature of creative thinking.

The Purdue Creative Thinking Program, Third Edition, consists of 36 audio-taped programs and a set of three to four printed exercises for each program. The program has been completely revised and updated. The audiotape programs consists of two parts: a three to four minute presentation designed to teach a principle or idea for improving creative thinking and an eight to ten minute story about a famous person who made a significant contribution to the historical development of America. The exercises for each program consist of printed directions, problems, or questions that are designed to provide practice in originality, flexibility, fluency, and elaboration in thinking. (Feldhusen, 1988)

Content: The content of the audiotapes focuses on social studies. The series also teaches skills (writing and listening) which are relevant to the language arts.

Titles in the Creative Thinking Program

1. Columbus
2. Balboa
3. Cortex
4. Magellan
5. DeSoto
6. Hudson
7. Lewis & Clark
8. Samuel Morse
9. The Pony Express
10. The Transatlantic Cable
11. Alexander Bell
12. The Wright Brothers
13. Henry Ford
14. Television & Telstar
15. George Washington
16. Thomas Jefferson
17. Simon Bolivar
18. Benito Juarez
19. Abraham Lincoln
20. Theodore Roosevelt
21. Dwight Eisenhower
22. Conquering Yellow Fever
23. Marconi & Radio
24. Fleming and Penicillin
25. Goddard & Rockets
26. Salk, Sabin & Polio
27. John Glenn & Gus Grissom
28. Authur Ashe
29. Harriett Tubman
30. Amelia Earhart
31. Mary McLeod Bethune
32. Margaret Mead
33. Martin Luther King, Jr.
34. Helen Keller
35. George Washington Carver
36. Wilma Rudolph

Purpose: This series of programs was designed to stimulate creative talent and develop a better understanding of the nature of creative thinking. It specificially focuses on the following four key types of creative thinking skills:

The program was designed to be administered in a group setting, or it can be easily adapted to an individualized learning center activity. The program is designed for use with students in grade levels 4, 5, 6 or gifted students in grades 2, 3 and 4.

Participants: The Purdue Creative Thinking Program was developed by a team of educational specialists under the direction of Dr. John Feldhusen, Department Education and Psychological Sciences and Director of the Purdue Gifted Education Resource Institute. Dr. Sherwin S. Shermis, Department of Education, served as the chief script-writer for the biographical sketches and Dr. Pose M. Lamb, Department of Education, served as general editor. Much of the extensive research and evaluation on the Program was designed conducted by Dr. Donald J. Treffinger, State University College, Buffalo, New York. Technical production was under the direction of Mr. Richard O. Forsythe, Center for Instructional Services.


Originally a radio program, later repurposed and sold as a series of audio tapes.

Materials Provided

Cassette Tapes: Thirty-six programs on 9 tapes, each program is 15 minutes long, giving specific suggestions for creative thinking and a story of a creative person, narrated by a professional announcer and dramatized with sound effects and background music.

Exercise Worksheets: A series of three or four creativity exercises accompanies each tape. The exercises are to be duplicated on 8 x 11 paper and distributed to students. One set of exercises for each tape is provided with the initial order.

Teacher's Manual: The manual gives a brief description and rationale for the program and synopses of the 36 stories. General guidelines for the teacher are also provided for help in using the series. A condensed version of the activities for each program is also presented in the manual along with a bibliography of children's books about each of the historical figures presented in the stories.


Feldhusen, J.F., & Clinkenbeard, P. R. (1986). Creativity Instructional Materials: A Review of Research. Journal of Creativity Behavior, 20, 153-182.


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Mary E. Hopper [MEHopper] | MEHopper@TheWorld.com [posted 01/01/01 | revised 02/02/02]