Modular design cards for building a chain reaction

Per Ivar Kloen and me have been designing a MakerChallenge for educators anticipating the big Maker Faire in Eindhoven this september. In this blog series we write down what we make, test and learn. We loooove feedback, so don’t be shy. In our last blog (Dutch, but with loads of clips and pictures) we are testing different techniques, in this blog we thought about a way to support the design process.

The challenge: build a chain reaction in a box of a certain size. Choose your own approach, theme and techniques. Start at A (left side of the box), and finish at B (right side of the box). Make it as long as possible!

Modular design tool

A chain reaction is a series of separate events that interact. A modular design tool to think of these separate but connected events seems like a useful solution. So we made sets of Chain-cards and a Designcanvas to use with the cards.  Easy to print and use for everyone. (Yeah, that’s Dutch all right. We’ll translate them as soon as, promise.)

Chain-cards and designcanvas

Chain-cards are cards with separate interactions, that you cut out and use to design your big chain reaction. Lego style! Materials should be printed on A3, so the Designcanvas matches the size of the box roughly.

Like this

Print the Chain-cards and Designcanvas.

Pick the interactions you like:

Put them on the Designcanvas ands make notes:

Collect the things you need:

And build it!

The Chain-cards and Designcanvas allow you to visualise your plans. It helps to imagine your chain reaction and the interaction between the separate events. Moving and switching the cards supports a fast en dynamic thinking-proces while designing.

We made a wide variety of cards: analog, with electronic components, with water, and many more. Each card comes with a little how-to clip (or other visual explanation), materials list and explanation. (They’re in Dutch, we’ll be translating soon.)

Tinkering set

We even made a little tinkering set of nice materials to give reluctant makers a comfortable start. (Want one? Give a little nudge to our dear partner Conrad. The set is called the Klooikoffer kettingreactie.)

Like it, or want to put pressure on us to get the English translation going? Please let us know: both Per-Ivar and me love a good talk on all things #makered. Big thank you!