Can you get a straw through a potato? This is a really simple but effective visual experiment that could form the basis of a good assembly looking at the important of being positive.

 

Ask for some volunteers and give them the challenge with the question “Is it possible to get the straw through the potato?” Begin by planting a seed of doubt in the mind of the students – will they give up when they think it’s impossible? At this stage you could reassure them that it is possible and maybe even offer a prize to those who manage it successfully.

So, what is the point of ‘straw through potato’

1. If you plant doubt, it can be self-fulfilling. By suggesting that it might not be possible, sure enough, some people conclude that it is impossible. But if you simply ask ‘how can it be done?’, the question is not ‘if’ but ‘how’.

2. Trial and error and testing things out will often lead to better solutions than lots of debate and discussion about what might work in theory.  It’s a hands-on solution; it’s physical.

3. Sometimes a direct approach is the best solution – just go for it. Do it. Believe that the straw will go through in one stabbing motion.

4. The satisfaction of that stabbing action, penetrating the potato, is quite addictive.  Try it.  You immediately want to do it again. Overcoming a difficulty and experiencing success is a great feeling – even if it is just stabbing a potato.

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