Blocks Rock- Teacher Review STEM Game

Are looking for a game that is fast-paced, brain-building, and wildly fun without becoming wild? Look no further than Blocks Rock! available on Amazon!

Object of the Game:
Use your blocks to recreate the image you see on the card before your opponent can!

How To Play:

1. Divide the blocks out. Each player gets 2 of every color. I gave the kids baskets to keep their blocks separated, but it's not necessary.
2. Players face each other.
3. One player flips a card over.
4. Both players begin to build the image they see on the card using their blocks
5. Player taps the bell to say they are done building

Teaching Young Children How to Play:

I wanted to my students to learn to play by working together and celebrating one another!
Here are the steps I gave the kids:

1. I put a set of blocks on each table and showed them how to lay out the blocks and cards.
2. One player at the table team flipped the card over
3. Table mates took turns adding a block to the building area until the image on the card was recreated with blocks.
4. Once the group agreed that #1 the blocks were all touching #2 it was neat, and  #3 the image and blocks matched- the table group rang their bell.
5. When other table groups heard a bell they did the most silent loving whisper cheer as a way to acknowledge the accomplishment.
We did this for about 20 minutes and each table group got to build about 5 times. They were smiling happy and engaged!
Here is my little crew in action. As I walked around I kept saying,  "We are a team and we are building together. How fun is this!?!?" I snapped pictures like a proud mama... a school mama!

Clean Up:
After we practiced as a team, we worked together to put the blocks away. The bottom card in the zipper case color matches the blocks. The games goes away so easily and neatly. (I was VERY, very, very happy with the thought that went into how easy this game is to take out and put away). The cards go away securely and the whole thing zips up and can be carried to back to the spot where it is stored. Watch it happen, by clicking play!

Ready to Rumble?
Once the kids know how to play they are ready to compete head-to-head.
Now competition can usually get noisy, but I reminded them of the importance self-control and I have had NO problems... at all.... like none. Not one.

Quick, Quiet Bell - Tap and Grab
I call this the "Tap and Grab"  They tap the bell button then pinch the bell to stop the ringing. Even if the bell is tapped loudly the sound stops immediately after the bell body is pinched.  So the bell rings for a hot second and stops ringing when pinched!

Switch Player / Fast Play:
I have 32 kids and 3 sets of blocks.  When lots of kids want to play I have them switch out players with every ring of the bell.

1. Bell rings for a hot second- two new players come in
2. Blocks are cleared by the new players
3. A new card is flipped
4. Players build until the bell is tapped and pinched
5. Both sets of building and bell ringing hands go up and they move out to let in two new people
6. Keep this going for as long as the kids like.

Game Benefits:

Spatial Awareness and Social Grace:
As a child of the 80's I owe my spatial intelligence to the game Tetris and Lincoln Logs. Today's kids have such advanced games and such poor social skills that they can be hard to captivate.  Rocks Block instantly engages with a real tangible toy and teaches them how to win and lose. With guidance from family and teachers this game can teach them how to win and lose with grace.

Spatial Awareness: 
Children choose how to build based on how they see it. Some build it flat, some stack, some build left to right or the reverse. Either way they have to see and replicate with their hands. That hand to mind connection is a big brain-builder!

Social Grace: 
I think some kids have never lost a game to another human being. I am sure they have lost 1,000 times on a video game, but when they play with older siblings or parents they must be allowed to win all the time.  This is my only explanation for the tempers I see in the recent years.

Learning to have fun whether it's a win, lose, or draw is important.  It's easy to teach this skill to kids when you are explaining to them how to play this game.
1. Yes, one off the objects of this game is to be the first to build the structure.
2. Another object is to watch how your friends build and enjoy watching their turn while you wait for your turn.
3. When it is your turn the object is to TRY to build it first, but also to spend time together and enjoy each other. Winning can be fun but so can seeing your friend win when they are up against you.
4. One of the easiest way to soothe that  disappointed or jealous feeling off loss is to say "Good Game!"

This games gives me a chance to model this kind of sportsmanship, friendship, and gentleness.

Social Growth: A Shy Child's Favorite Recess Game:
Whether it's a rainy day or kids just want a quiet game to play outside, this game is wonderful.  Some kids just don't fit into the world of handball and gossip.  They sit on the fringe.  Having a game like this can give kids something to do, to be good at, and grow in their social skills.

I don't recommend sending this out if its windy because you don't want the cards to blow away. I would also send this game out with a digital timer. 5 minutes before the end of recess they need to neatly pack it up and line up with the kit. The timer will let them know when they need to get packing.

Leveled Playing: 
This game comes with 2 levels of paper cards and a free app that has the kids can use to build some incredible and challenging 3D items! Some of the more complex builds on the iPad take almost the whole set. So if a child is playing solo and you have an iPad this is a fun way to go.

However, I love how the kids are manipulating real blocks in between their precious chubby fingers, so I like them playing with each other more than along-side the iPad.  Since we are talking about leveled play- I have a cool idea for you if you have more than one set. I declare one game as the "relaxed game".  Kids who are more nervous might want to join that game because we are all going to go a little slower be more chill with the "relaxed game" set.  My quiet ones gravitate toward this.  My kids who want to be fierce will play on the other two sets.

This is engineering at it's sweetest. Kids, uncomplicated blocks, problem solving, and race to replicate! Can this be any better to meet the STEM needs in your classroom !?!? Once the game is purchased it can be used and enjoyed for decades!

Quality Family Fun at Home or on the Go:
This is a perfect game to play in a restaurant while you are waiting for your meal. I recommend not using the bell and rather placing a cotton ball in with your set. First family member to complete their build grabs the cotton ball and is the winner. Your family will be interacting and enjoying one another.  You will probably be the only family in the restaurant not glued to their phones. Since this game can be played without a plug, it's also great for camping and boating!

How to Get Block Rock! in Your Classroom:
1. Shop the Blocks Rock! site: Shop Blocks Rock!
2. Shop Amazon ; Shop Amazon
3. Create a Donors Choose project: Go to Donor's Choose

What's Donors Choose?
Donors choose is a site that connects teachers with companies who are looking to donate to classrooms. Setting up an account is simple and setting up a project is easy as well.  Businesses are investing in your classroom to build a better future so when you write your short proposal you might want to include the the thinking benefits of this game as well as the social emotional growth that kids make while playing. Any project that offers hope to employers about social emotional growth is sure to be funded.  All donations made from companies or private citizens are also matched by a matching company, so projects like this one get funded quickly.