UT Austin

Driving Creativity Through Mathematics

-For School Students

A course to help students to become creative problem solvers and creators of ideas using basic mathematics tools. Preparing students for success in college and beyond

Learn to think from world's renowned mathematics professor, Dr. Michael starbird

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Meet the Instructor

Michael Starbird, University Distinguished Teaching Professor of Mathematics (UT Austin)

Dr. Michael P. Starbird is one of the world's leading authorities in the new emerging field of mathematics and creative thought. Dr. Starbird seeks to make sophisticated mathematics accessible to the public.

He is a Professor of Mathematics and a University of Texas Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He serves on the national education committees of the Mathematical Association of America and the American Mathematical Society. He has received over fifteen teaching awards and written 5 books on topics covering mathematics and creative thinking. In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society. He has served as a Visiting Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and a member of the technical staff of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

He directs University of Texas's Inquiry Based Learning Project and works to promote the use of Inquiry Based Learning methods of instruction across US.

Know More about Dr. Starbird


How Will The Course Be Taught?

This course will be taught online through a combination on reading materials, extensive instructional videos, exercises and a monthly webinar. All participants will also be a part of online forums where they will interact with other students and learn through peer to peer interactions. Dr. Starbird teaches this course in a highly engaging manner with relatable examples and lots of patience!

Course Features

20 Hour

Delivered Online

Study Through Videos & Exercises

5 Modules( 52 videos )

Certificate from Michael Starbird

Completing this course will certify you as an effective thinker with innovative problem solving skills

Univariety GCC Certificate

Benefits of the Course

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Gain a qualification from world renowned professor of mathematics and creative thinking

Dr. Starbird is among the best faculties in the world teaching this subject and you can get benefits

Think differently, have an edge over other students by analyzing and solving problems differently

Use the techniques learned in this course to become a better analyser and problem solver

Learn to have fun with numbers and find enjoyable insights that you absolutely love

Do the course at convenient time your home. It is fun to do and it won't feel like any other course

Course Curriculum

The curriculum is designed in a comprehensive manner to ensure optimum learning. It is easy and full of fun and insight.

  • These videos introduce the philosophy of the course
  • To benefit from this course, participate-be active; answer questions; think.
  • Stories illustrate the power of understanding deeply and of making and learning from mistakes.
  • This section of the course uses puzzles to introduce strategies of thinking and creating ideas.
  • By the end of this part of the course, students will know that the way to finding creative solutions to difficult challenges is to use your mind in effective ways.
  • Each of the 5 Elements of Effective Thinking are described and their use is illustrated through the puzzles.
  • Numbers let us understand the world with more nuance and precision
  • Even the most basic aspects of numbers, like how to write them, are great examples of human creativity and clarity of thought
  • Simple counting leads to insights, such as the fact that every person is unique
  • Estimation is a habit that can open doors of insight and nuance
  • The Pigeonhole Principle allows us to deduce insights about the world that are unexpected, such as the fact that there must be two people on Earth who have exactly the same numbers of hairs on their bodies
  • The Fibonacci numbers come from looking at nature and abstracting a pattern
  • Exploring number patterns illustrates a creative strategy for exploring and creating ideas
  • Seeing how to develop the incredibility important idea of numbers shows you how you can create and explore ideas on your own.
  • The mathematical concept of infinity is a wonderful example of taking a basic idea like counting and extending and abstracting it to imagine creative new concepts that are fascinating
  • The core method is to look at the familiar idea of everyday counting and finding the essence of that process
  • We see that the idea of one-to-one correspondence is at the heart of counting
  • When we explore the consequences of applying the simple idea of one-to-one correspondence to infinite collections, whole new worlds open up
  • Thought experiments lead the way
  • Struggle is part of learning. Struggling with ideas is part of the way to make them meaningful and permanent.
  • One of the greatest strategies for creativity is to make mistakes and learn from them. Mistakes are great guides to insight and creativity.
  • Old ideas are perhaps the best source of creative new ideas. Think about how to modify the familiar to create the new.
  • Following the consequences of ideas leads from new idea to new idea.
  • If you can see how to tame infinity, your possibilities are limitless.
  • Creating a concept through analogy
  • The mantra for the creation of the fourth dimension is 'retreat'
  • For any question about the fourth dimension, don't work on it-retreat to the analogous question about lower dimensions and then teach yourself how to extend the idea
  • View the familiar in unfamiliar ways
  • Getting accustomed to slices
  • Playing with consequences of the fourth dimension
  • Flatland-looking at the unfamiliar, but simpler, 2-dimensional world
  • A 4D cube-creating it by analogy
  • Unfolding the boundary of a 4D cube
  • The fourth dimension is a great example of how to create and explore ideas.


Exercise - Sneak Peek

Here is a glimpse of a couple of puzzles that are part of the course and a brief summary of what you will learn from them. The entire course is packed with such fun puzzles for you to solve!

Meanie Genie

Summary of learning outcome

Trying something and making mistakes is the best start to effective thinking. This means that you are working it out and flowing from one idea to another. Your approaches to solving the puzzle is as important as actually solving the puzzle.

Pirates and Admirals

Summary of learning outcome

In this puzzle, it is very easy to get ahead of yourself because when you think of one, many simultaneous ideas pop up. It is a good thing because it teaches you to differentiate between the right and the wrong idea, in order to arrive at the solution.

Learn to think from world's renowned mathematics professor, Dr. Michael starbird