Creating Challenges

Deciding on the problem can be as much of an educational experience as creating the solution.

Creating challenges or prompts for participants

  1. Identify a real-world problem: Start by identifying a real-world problem that participants can work on during the Makeathon. This problem should be relevant to the theme of the event and should be something that participants can work on using their skills and resources. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a useful framework for this as they articulate specific challenges that need urgent addressing in the world, and the students can select issues that they feel strongly about so that their projects can have a meaningful impact. šŸ’” It's helpful (and fun!) to have a way in which students can co-design their own real-world problem to address. See the Mind Over Matter case study to see how we did this using a card game we invented.

  2. Define the challenge: Once you have identified the problem, you should ensure that the challenge created is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). Make sure that the challenge is well-defined and that the participants clearly understand it.

  3. Set guidelines: Set guidelines for the challenge, including any constraints or requirements that participants need to adhere to. These guidelines can include technical requirements, resource limitations, and any other constraints that are relevant to the challenge.

  4. Encourage creativity: Encourage creativity by allowing participants to approach the challenge in their own unique ways. Provide opportunities for participants to brainstorm, ideate, and experiment with different solutions. One way that we have done this in the past is to introduce a random element by using a card game methodology that guides students to consider topics or societal challenges that they might not otherwise have thought of.

  5. Provide support: Provide support to participants throughout the Makeathon. Have mentors and experts available to help with any technical or creative challenges. Ask students to explain the problem. Getting them to articulate it in their own words helps them understand it more fully and imagine more creative solutions. Make sure that participants have access to the necessary resources and materials.

  6. Focus on the outcome: Focus on the outcome of the challenge rather than the process. Make sure that participants are aware of the expected outcome of the challenge and are working towards achieving that outcome. Ensure you set realistic and achievable goals.

  7. Be open to pivots: Be open to pivots and changes during the Makeathon. Participants may come up with unexpected ideas or solutions that require adjustments to the challenge. Be ready to adapt and make changes as needed. The challenge should provide a springboard into creative projects - not a restriction or constraint that the participants must work within.

By following these tips, you can create a challenge for your Makeathon (or help the students design their own) that is engaging, relevant, and productive.

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