By Brian Remer
Just as every coin has two sides (and an edge), we know that every issue has at least two ways of being viewed. Sometimes it's a challenge to identify all the nuances of meaning in an issue. To make things more complicated, we are usually holding a handful of coins!
This can make it difficult to sort out and compare all the aspects of all the concepts. That's where a Matrix Activity can be invaluable. Take each concept and make it the heading of a column on a grid. Then take the same headings and run them down the left side of the grid so they become the headings for each row. Point to a cell of the grid and it shows the interaction of a row and a column. Each concept can then be compared to every other concept - and itself. That's your matrix.
Thiagi has devised dozens of activities using a square matrix game board to...
Compare and contrast different concepts
Discover the impact that increasing or decreasing one factor will have on the other factors
Identify cause-effect connections among different activities
Compare advantages and disadvantages of alternative solutions
Explore diverse perceptions or points of view
I often use a simple matrix to help people delve into a topic more deeply. Posting the empty spaces of a giant matrix at the front of the room, I invite people to speculate about how the various concepts are interrelated. As the group fills the cells with a statement or collage to express the relationships, a complete picture of the concepts and their impact emerges.