Did you ever wonder how you could teach your elephant to break dance or maybe if you could house train your Tasmanian devil?
Don't lie awake worrying about it. Some creative Murray students have solved such problems - and they can even cure insomnia.Approximately 100 Murray School District students in grades four to six have spent the past month letting their creative juices work overtime, and the results are a shelf full of delightful, imaginative how-to books for kids ages 3 to 12.
The children from the gifted and talented program at Murray's seven elementary schools then competed at the Creative Pursuits Bowl at Longview Elementary.
Five teams were selected from the 22 competing teams to represent Murray in the regional Creative Pursuits Bowl Friday at Highland Park Elementary. Salt Lake, Jordan and Granite School Districts will also participate in the regional competition.
At the regional meet, the Murray representatives will comprise three teams from Parkside Elementary School, one from Viewmont Elementary School and one from Grant Elementary School.
"Creative Pursuits presents an opportunity for children to experience cooperative learning in creatively solving problems as a team," said Carolyn Schubach, coordinator of the Murray School District gifted and talented program.
The teamwork involved both the book's construction and its presentation. The bowl consisted of two-minute book reviews, or skits, in which the students tried to impress a panel of judges.
Their presentations were just as creative as their books. A fourth-grade team from Parkside Elementary rattled off the features of their "How to Entertain a Friend" in rap song.
Horizon sixth-graders mixed the old - dinosaurs - and the new - today's electronic wizardry - to produce a videotape on their book, "The Amazing Dinosaur Baseball" book, which tells how to teach your pet dinosaurs baseball.
"Dinosaur baseball is a fun way to get your dinosaurs off the shelf and onto the field. After all, even model dinosaurs need some fresh air and a good workout once in a while," reads the creation of David Hancey, Walker McKay, Matt Myers, Bryan Terry and Nathan Lewis.
Walker said the team decided on dinosaur baseball because they already had the props for the video - his collection of 120 dinosaurs.
Familiarity also led to the "How to Fall Asleep" book by Longview sixth-graders Chalise Rees, Jamie Cannon, Janelle Duffin and Jessica Harrington. It seems little brothers and sisters who fight the Sand Man are a universal problem just crying out for the creative touch. Make up your own sweet dreams on the way to slumberland is one of the girls' suggestion.
It was from sweet dreams to sweet tooth when Longview fourth-graders Kyle Cottam, Stephen Kirk, Lauren Steadman, Kim Evans and Michael Goates presented "How to Make Brownies."
Dressed up as the ingredients, they danced their way through a book review and then sweetened up the judges by slipping them a plate of brownies at the finale.
Still wondering about break-dancing elephants? Grant fifth-graders Craig Smith, Heidi Maughan and Ben Pehrson pointed out the obvious - elephants don't break dance on command. They have a mulish streak. But they can quickly learn a backspin when following a peanut tied to a stick.
They also do a mean moonwalk. You just need to push a mouse into their paths, the trio revealed.
And the Tasmanian devil can be tamed just as easily when asked to help Mom around the house, according to Grant sixth-graders Shaleen Scott, Katy Morrison and Jordan Greenwell. But don't ask him to lend a hand with the ironing. His forte there is scorching.
Schubach said she also plans to have the students learn another lesson from their creations. When the competition is over, the students will present their how-to books to children at a homeless shelter.