Modular design cards for building a chain reaction

We (the fabulous Astrid Poot ,me and her cool work work colleagues!) are 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 tested 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!



A chain reaction is a series of separate events that interact. A modular design tool to think of these separate but connected events to us 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 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.



Print the chain-cards and design canvas.

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’ll be making (and translating!) different sets 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.

What do you think, are we onto something here? Please let us know: both Astrid and me love a good talk on all things #makered. Big thank you!