Lateral Thinking

According to Edward De Bono, the originator of Lateral Thinking, Lateral Thinking is about reasoning that is not immediately obvious or about ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic.

In other words, it is about using your creative (right) brain to help solve problems or come up with new ideas that you wouldn't normally be able to do using your logical (left) brain.

Try and answer some of these:

Round 1

  1. How many sides has a circle?
  2. If there are two monkeys in each corner of a room, how many monkeys can say they are looking at other monkeys?
  3. How far can a dog run into a forest?
  4. Jenny works in a fruit and vegetable shop. When she was born she weighed 3kgs. She is now aged 18 and is 1.6 metres tall. What does she weigh?
  5. A farmer has 5 haystacks in one field, 10 haystacks in a second field and 8 in the third field. He brought them all together. How many haystacks does he have?
  6. There are 8 crows on a wall and a farmer shoots one. How many are left?
  7. A truck driver is going down a one-way street the wrong way. A policeman looks over and waves a good morning to him. Why?
  8. Why do Chinese men eat more rice than Japanese men?
  9. One man has three sacks of corn on his back and another man has four sacks on his back. Who has the heavier load?
  10. When your tonsils are removed it is called an Tonsilectomy. When you have your appendix removed it is called an Appendectomy. What is it called when a growth is removed from your head?

Answers below

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Round 2

  1. Divide 30 by a half and add ten
  2. What is the eleven letter word that most people spell incorrectly?
  3. Take two apples from five apples and what do have?
  4. What can go up a chimney down but not down a chimney up?
  5. If Mr Smith’s peacock lays an egg in Mr Jones’ yard, who owns the egg?
  6. What do you sit on, sleep on, and brush your teeth with?
  7. A 10 foot rope ladder hangs over the side of a boat with the bottom rung on the surface of the water. The rungs are one foot apart, and the tide goes up at the rate of 6 inches per hour. How long will it be until three rungs are covered?
  8. Who's bigger: Mr. Bigger, Mrs. Bigger or their baby?
  9. Which country has the 4TH July: USA, UK, Germany or Australia?
  10. Some months have 31 days, some have 30 days. How many have 28 days?
  11. A man built a house of rectangular structure with all the walls facing south.A bear came wandering by. What colour was the bear?
  12. If you were alone in a deserted house at night and you only had one match and there was a lampl, a fire and a candle. What would you light first?
  13. You're the pilot of an aeroplane that travels from New York to Chicago - a distance of 800 miles. The aeroplane travels at 200 m.p.h. and makes one stop for 30 minutes. What is the pilot's name?
  14. How many animals of each species did Moses take on board the ark?
  15. What is black when you buy it, red when you use it and grey when you throw it away?
  16. Where are the kings and queens of England crowned?
  17. What was the highest mountain in the world before Mt Everest was discovered?
  18. If a farmer raises wheat in dry weather, what does he raise in wet weather?
  19. You have two jugs of water and you have to put the water into a barrel. However, the water from each jug needs to be kept separate. You can't put anything in the barrel other than the water. How are you going to keep the water separate in the barrel?

Answers below


Round 1 - Answers

  1. How many sides has a circle?
  2. Two sides. The inside and the outside.

  3. If there are two monkeys in each corner of a room, how many monkeys can say they are looking at other monkeys?
  4. None. Monkeys can't speak.

  5. How far can a dog run into a forest?
  6. Halfway. Once past the halfway mark it is running out.

  7. Jenny works in a fruit and vegetable shop. When she was born she weighed 3kgs. She is now aged 18 and is 1.6 metres tall. What does she weigh?
  8. Fruit and vegetables.

  9. A farmer has 5 haystacks in one field, 10 haystacks in a second field and 8 in the third field. He brought them all together. How many haystacks does he have?
  10. One.

  11. There are 8 crows on a wall and a farmer shoots one. How many are left?
  12. One. The dead one.

  13. A truck driver is going down a one-way street the wrong way. A policeman looks over and waves a good morning to him. Why?
  14. He was walking.

  15. Why do Chinese men eat more rice than Japanese men?
  16. There are more of them.

  17. One man has three sacks of corn on his back and another man has four sacks on his back. Who has the heavier load?
  18. The one with 3 sacks of corn.

  19. When your tonsils are removed it is called an Tonsilectomy. When you have your appendix removed it is called an Appendectomy. What is it called when a growth is removed from your head?
  20. A haircut.

Round 2 - Answers

  1. Divide 30 by a half and add ten
  2. The answer is 70 as a half equals 0.5

  3. What is the eleven letter word that most people spell incorrectly?
  4. Incorrectly

  5. Take two apples from five apples and what do have?
  6. You've got what you have taken - 2 apples

  7. What can go up a chimney down but not down a chimney up?
  8. An umbrella. Something to do with chimney sweeps in the old days who used to put an umbrella over the top of the chimney when it rained.

  9. If Mr Smith’s peacock lays an egg in Mr Jones’ yard, who owns the egg?
  10. Peacocks don't lay eggs. Peahens lay the eggs.

  11. What do you sit on, sleep on, and brush your teeth with?
  12. A chair, a bed and a toothbrush. Remember this is not a logical thinking question. You are not looking for a common denominator.

  13. A 10 foot rope ladder hangs over the side of a boat with the bottom rung on the surface of the water. The rungs are one foot apart, and the tide goes up at the rate of 6 inches per hour. How long will it be until three rungs are covered?
  14. Never, because they boat rises with the tide.

  15. Who's bigger: Mr. Bigger, Mrs. Bigger or their baby?
  16. It's the baby because the baby is a - little bigger.

  17. Which country has the 4TH July: USA, UK, Germany or Australia?
  18. All of them.

  19. Some months have 31 days, some have 30 days. How many have 28 days?
  20. 12 months

  21. A man built a house of rectangular structure with all the walls facing south.A bear came wandering by. What colour was the bear?
  22. White because it is on the North Pole. The only place you can build a house where all the walls face south.

  23. If you were alone in a deserted house at night and you only had one match and there was a lampl, a fire and a candle. What would you light first?
  24. The match.

  25. You're the pilot of an aeroplane that travels from New York to Chicago - a distance of 800 miles. The aeroplane travels at 200 m.p.h. and makes one stop for 30 minutes. What is the pilot's name?
  26. Your name

  27. How many animals of each species did Moses take on board the ark?
  28. None. It was Noah's Ark.

  29. What is black when you buy it, red when you use it and grey when you throw it away?
  30. Coal.

  31. Where are the kings and queens of England crowned?
  32. On their heads.

  33. What was the highest mountain in the world before Mt Everest was discovered?
  34. Mount Everest.

  35. If a farmer raises wheat in dry weather, what does he raise in wet weather?
  36. An umbrella.

  37. You have two jugs of water and you have to put the water into a barrel. However, the water from each jug needs to be kept separate. You can't put anything in the barrel other than the water. How are you going to keep the water separate in the barrel?
  38. Freeze the water and then put the chunks in the barrel.


Good! I hope you did well. Lateral Thinking is always a popular part of each of our courses as it really focuses the students. I would urge you to integrate it into your teaching or run LT sessions with your students. They also enjoy the lollipops we give them - to help them concentrate!

Lateral Thinking Flash Slideshow
If you would like to run a Lateral Thinking Flash Slideshow in your classroom then have a look below.

The full flash slideshow has music and 40 slides. It is $19.



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