Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • 5 to 10 students
    More than 10 students
  • 15 to 30 min
  • Internet connection necessary
  • English, German

Resource Description

Additional attachments

More Than Words(Resource ID: 14)

The method “More than Words” uses objects as symbols to express one’s feelings about a certain topic. Due to its communicative element it can be used as a warmer at the beginning of a lecture and also to introduce a new topic. This exercise is a quick and easily copied tool to create confidence in a group. It also helps to express expectations in a course or to define basic concepts.

Symbols help to express feelings, values and attitudes. The facilitator comes up with an open question, for example “what does poverty mean to you?” Or “how do you use resources in a sustainable way?“  Each student then selects an object as a symbol for his/her answer and presents it in front of the group. There are no comments allowed by others during these small presentations.

This method helps to energize a group since picking the object involves getting up in the first place. “More than words” helps to formulate expectations in a course and to define basic concepts as a group.

Didactical description of the method

Preparation: If used as warmer / at the beginning of a semester, the facilitator should provide the objects. If used at a later point during the semester, students can also be asked to bring their own – the facilitator should still always have a back-up set of objects prepared.

Procedure: Students will be asked to sit in a circle and the facilitator will place the objects in its centre. After asking an open question (what does a sustainable university mean to you?  or a question concerning the content of the course), students pick an object that symbolizes their answer to the question. Once everyone has picked an object, one after the other presents his object; the facilitator might jot down some notes on the flipchart.

At the end of it, similarities can be exchanged or the group can conclude a common answer (depending on the question)  - the flipchart can support this process.

Necessary Documents/Materials

Flipchart, symbols – objects can be post cards, stationary, keys, etc.

Type of teaching method
  • Reflection
Related Teaching Resources
No specific previous knowledge / related resources required
Topics of sustainability
Personalize the grand challenges of today (poverty, climate change, gender issues and generational questions) by asking “What does … (e.g. poverty) mean to you?”
The tool can be used for a personal start of a technical course, e.g. a course on photovoltaic can be started by asking: “What does the energy crisis mean for me?”
Strengths of the method
By using this tool, students will clarify their own expectations in a course and also they can think about certain concepts. At the same time, they will exchange with their fellow students about their values, expectations and attitudes. Through this dialogue, a lot of communication will happen amongst the students and this will create trust.
Sources and Links

Based on “COMO Toolbox Reader: Managing Collaboration” (e-book version available: http://ebookbrowse.com/como-toolbox-reader-pdf-d252994481).

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MMag. Nadine Shovakar


Shovakar Nadine
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
KFUG - Karl-Franzens-University Graz


Creative Commons

Type of teaching method

  • Reflection