Case Study: Mind Over Matter

Creating simple tools for idea generation.

For the EU Erasmus+ project Mind Over Matter (MOM), we created a deck of cards for idea generation and a series of games with those cards to help the students to identify a challenge linked to the UN SDGs, real-life jobs, and creative practices.

The card game consists of four piles: Arts, Careers, UN SDGs and Concepts.

In the MOM project, the cards were accompanied by explanation text and video teacher's guides that explain different iterations of the card game. These are available at the project website.

We developed several activities designed to enhance the game with different levels of complexity and duration, depending on the age and skill level of the Makeathon group.

The MOM cards are user-friendly and very easy to deploy in a Makeathon as an idea generation tool and a springboard into conversations about what sorts of challenges the students might want to address in their group projects. The cards are available in English, Croatian, Italian, Lithuanian, Spanish and Swedish.

In the MOM Makeathons and Pilots, students were challenged to use the words on the cards to develop research questions. For instance, they might draw an Arts card that said SCULPTURE, a Career card that read ARCHITECT, an SDG card that said SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES, and a Concept card that read CREATE.

Here is how a group of students responded to that particular group of cards in one of our pilots in Sweden.

Another group drew the following cards:


Here was their idea.

We wanted to make sure that the MOM cards were not something restrictive that forced students down a particular path but one that opened up new ideas and had them talking about the kinds of challenges that were most important to them.

As our project progressed towards the final international makeathon event, we developed activities and challenges within the event to have the students think more deeply and laterally than simply the sticking to the words that appeared on the cards. The cards are a fun tool for arriving at ideas that the students may not have come to on their own.

We printed the MOM cards to use in our pilots and Makeathons but also developed an online version of the cards available on the webpage, as well as a ready-to-print version free for download in 5 languages.

NOTE: If you decide to use the MOM cards in your own Makeathon, you may wish to sort through them and remove the cards that you think might be too challenging for the age group of the students you will be working with. Or you can create your own cards and add to the pile!

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