USING CREATIVITY ACTIVITIES
A2: RANDOM WORDS
Random words is a short introductory activity which can
be used to introduce students to creativity techniques and
encourage them to start thinking in abstract ways that they
are unlikely to be familiar with. Random words can be used
to help them generate inspiration for problem solving and
encourage them to think in different ways. Creativity techniques
like this enable students to build on each other’s ideas
and encourage new ways of thinking - which is an important
element of successful ecodesign.
SUITABILITY FOR A/S and A2 STUDENTS
This activity can be used with both AS and A2 level students.
More guidance from the teacher may be required for AS students.
It is important to recognise that most students will not have
worked with these types of techniques before and may find the
activity difficult to get in to, to start with. To ensure the
success of the activity the teacher must have a clear idea of
what they are doing and help out by contributing their own ideas - however
silly. Often a little ‘sillyness’ can kick start
the activity quite successfully.
WHEN TO USE THE ACTIVITY
This technique is a useful taster technique which gives
students the opportunity to try out creativity techniques
and experience how they work. As it is quite an abstract technique
it is useful to use it at the beginning of a brainstorming
workshop to begin to generate ideas and provide inspiration
for idea generation. For any creativity technique it is important
to make sure that a specific problem has been identified before
beginning the exercise. For a tool like this focus on something
that can be easily defined,
e.g. energy reduction, materials reduction.
IS IT FOR GROUPS OR INDIVIDUALS?
With creativity techniques it is often much more beneficial
for students to work in groups - though as individuals
become more proficient, they can start to use them on their
own. Working in groups allows the students to build on each
others ideas and develop new solutions (e.g. 1 + 1 = 3).
VALUES ISSUES CONSIDERED
This activity can be tailored to be used for any situation
where idea generation is required, so is appropriate for supporting
environmental and social/cultural and economic issues.
ASSESSMENT CRITIERIA MET
Taking part in Random words will introduce the students
to a very simple way of generating inspiration for new ideas.
This technique also provides a good opportunity to encourage
students to work together in a group.
THE ACTIVITY AND HINTS ON HOW TO ORGANISE IT
In advance print out and cut up the sheets of random
words (see sheets below) - put them in a container.
Divide the class into small groups (min 3- max 7) and
set them up around large tables.
Give each group a couple of large sheets of paper (A2)
and each student a marker pen.
If this activity is to be used to support an ecodesign
redesign activity - write the improvement option that
is to be focused on, on a white board focus so that all the
students can see it e.g. energy reduction.
Outline the rules: do not criticise, be as crazy as you
like, listen to each other, have fun.
Go round each group and ask one student from each group
to select a random word from a box of pre-prepared words (like
a lucky dip)
o Do not give them the opportunity to change their word - encourage
them to work with what they pull out
The students should then write the word in the middle
of their piece of paper.
The students then have 3 minutes to work together to
come up with as many words associated with the random word that
they have selected.
o E.g. Pencil
• Blue & white
The words that they come up with, should be written down
on the large sheet of paper
o The students should work together whilst doing this,
calling out their ideas, and all writing down the words that
o It is great to encourage the students to be a bit silly,
but make sure that if they start going completely off the wall
that they are brought round to generate at least some useful
words, as they will have to use them later to generate solutions.
Now ask the students to look at the board where it says
ENERGY REDUCTION, and ask them to apply any of the words that
they have generated to the problem of energy reduction, to see
what they can come up with.
These solutions should be written down.
It is likely that the students will struggle with this
activity to start with, so that facilitator should make sure
that they go round the groups and make it look easy… just
keep talking and generating ideas, however silly.
By the end of the session the groups will have generated
a whole range of new ways of reducing the energy consumption
of their product.
Ask them to circle the ideas that they like the most
and which they think they may be able to use.
Random Words - early alphabet examples