SCAMPER – a really useful acronym in education.

I use the acronym SCAMPER quite often in lessons to help students come up with creative ideas. It is particularly helpful when pupils experience ‘writers block’ and cannot seem to come up with different recipes or development ideas.

I just take it for granted really and use it without really considering who in fact came up with the idea of SCAMPER.The invention of SCAMPER is attributed to Bob Eberle, author of books about creativity for children, aimed at teachers.SCAMPER is an acronym for seven thinking techniques that help those who use them come up untypical solutions to problems.So thank you Bob for creating this fab teaching aid.(

This is how I introduce SCAMPER in my teaching:

SCAMPER: bringing creativity into thinking

  • Scamper is a learning technique based on an acronym which will help you to develop your thinking skills and extend your work.
  • It involves answering a set of questions to help you to come up with creative ideas.
  • It will be useful in helping you to evaluate your design ideas and to come up with creative development suggestions for your coursework.

I usually begin by going through each letter and use a photograph to explain each letter.

Take this Pasta with Seafood Dish


Name of Dish: Pasta served with Mussels and Prawns

Use the questions provided in the grid to SCAMPER the dish below.

Substitute (Remove some part of the dish and replace it with something else.

Substitute linguine with spaghetti, fish with meat, parsley with basil

Combine (Join two or more elements in a way to produce a different outcome)

Combine olive oil with a tomato based sauce to create a different sauce

Adapt (Change some part – e.g How can it be adjusted to make it suitable for vegetarians, healthier?)

Remove fish and replace with sautéed mushrooms, red peppers and a cream cheese sauce for protein

Modify ( Modify an attribute, size, shape, other dimensions, texture, color,etc)

Serve as a starter portion instead of a main.

Use penne pasta.

Add red peppers for colour.

Add shavings of parmesan to provide a contrasting texture.

Put to other purpose ( change the purpose of the dish)

Sell as a ready meal instead of in a restaurant.

Target at pesco vegetarians specifically.

Eliminate ( Reduce to its core functionally)

Serve pasta tossed in some olive oil, sprinkle with herbs and pepper and grated cheese.

Reverse (Turn it upside-down, inside-out, or make it go backwards, against the direction it was intended to go or be used).

Place mussels on bottom, with a layer of pasta on top, the grated cheese on top, then prawns then pasta, then cheese.Garnish with parsley and drizzle with olive oil. Serve on a square plate.

I then ask the pupils to apply SCAMPER to their chosen recipe.

Usually, I ask pupils to do an extension activity where they reflect on the purpose of SCAMPER and I encourage them to use in lessons which requires them to think in a creative way or outside of the box or inside of the box for that matter.

Extension activity (Use the back of this sheet to reflect on this activity)

How useful to you think scamper is as a learning technique?

Has it helped you come up with some creative development ideas?

What are its advantages/disadvantages?  Do you think you will use it often? Explain further.

Scamper is a really useful tool to have in your teachers toolbox or ingredients cupboard.

Feel free to comment or email me at if you would like to discuss this blog further.

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