Teach Through Games: Make ‘N’ Break

Teach Through Games: Make ‘N’ Break

Age level: Preschool, Early Elementary, Upper Elementary
Description: A beat-the-clock game for building structures based on picture cards, this game is easy to play, easy to differentiate, and highly motivating for students.
Skills & Modifications: As described in the When section, before I ever read the instructions to a game, I always looks at all the materials included in a game to brainstorm ways I could use them to meet the individual needs of my students. This game includes a dice with only the numbers 1-3, a timer with levels 1-3 (each level making the timer run for longer) and a two separate buttons for starting and stopping the timer, 10 rectangular blocks of different colors, 80 cards with three separate skill levels for building structures using the blocks, and counters for 1, 10, and 25. If you’re a teacher, there are innumerable ways to use these materials!

  • Block imitation – For some students, I only use the cards and the blocks to practice building structures based on a picture. It is wonderful that the cards are already differentiated for me, so I can meet the students at his/her current skill level.
  • Accepting Losing A Game – For students who struggle with losing a game or not doing well on their turn, this is great practice for having them accept not finishing the structure before the timer goes off. You can use the timer as prescribed by the game, or you can use the timer as a “current functioning level” for your student by providing simple cards to create but setting the timer for a briefer amount of time.
  • Alike & Different – Sometimes I will build a structure that is slightly different from the one pictured on the card and have the student describe how the two are alike and different, or I will have the student find the difference if he/she has made an error. At other times, I will just use the blocks and build two different structures, then have the learner describe for me how they are alike and different, which also connects with teaching…
  • Prepositions – It’s easy to use just the blocks for having students practice receptive and expressive language skills with prepositions. For receptive skills, I may ask the student a questions such as “What color is UNDER the red block?” For expressive skills, I may ask the student to describe the location of the blocks.
  • Measurement – For early learners, when we first introduce measurement and the concept of units of measurement, we don’t typically start with tools such as rulers. We start by having the student measure with common objects, such as paperclips. I love to use the rectangle blocks as a comparison to measurements with paper clips. They’re easy to manipulate and provide a clear demonstration of how important it is to use the same unit of measurement.
  • Addition/Multiplication – When first introducing addition or multiplication facts, I’ll use the dice as a way to practice drills for increasing fluency with sums and facts. I’ll have a number card out (such as an 8 written on an index card) and the student will roll the dice. He/she will have to add or multiply (depending on the skill your practicing) by the number that shows up on the dice. I like that the numbers only go up to 3 since sometimes the learner has not yet been introduced to equations with higher numbers.
  • Skip Counting – When students are first practicing skip counting, I will sometimes use the counters for practicing counting by 10s or 25s. It can also be a good link to multiplication when you introduce multiplying by 10s.
  • Mand for missing items – For students who are able to tact (label) colors but do not mand (request) items that are missing, this can be a good activity for practice. To do this, I place the picture card in front of them and the blocks they need except for one. They have to ask me for the block in order to complete the structure.
  • Anything requiring a timer – I appreciate that this timer is a little more abstract and can be leveled based on your needs. I use this timer sometimes, especially if a learner is already motivated by the game, and has a positive association with this particular timer.

Pros:  For early learners or learners with deficits in gross motor skills, I love that the blocks are large enough for them to grasp easily. The game is highly motivating for a range of students and easy to modify based on your student’s current functioning level. It also is easy to differentiate among 2 or more learners if you are playing as a group.
Cons: This could be considered a pro or a con based on your student, but the timer is quite loud when it runs, which may be distracting for some students as they try to build their structure or complete any other task you may have given them.
Cost: $29.95 Should I buy this? This is a bit pricey, but you can find it cheaper on amazon or ebay sometimes. As a teacher, there are multiple uses for it so I wouldn’t hesitate to make the purchase if it fits for your students. If you’re a parent, I think it’s a great game for students with autism or other developmental delays because it’s so easy to modify based on your child’s needs. It should also be noted that there are multiple versions of this game that may be more appropriate for your student, such as Make ‘N’ Break Mini, Make ‘N’ Break Junior, or Make ‘N’ Break Extreme.
ABLLS:  B12, B23, C51, G22, G35, K15, R15, R16, R20
VB-MAPP:  Mand 6, Play 6

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