Teach Through Games: Equilibrio

Teach Through Games: Equilibrio

Age level: Early Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School 

Description: The premise of Equilibrio is quite simple: use the blocks to create the pictured structure. But it’s much more challenging than it looks! This block-building game varies from similar games in that it requires much more careful construction in order for the structure to maintain equilibrium. For my learners who love building structures, Equilibrio allows me to provide more challenging activities that keep them engaged and learning. 

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Skills & Modifications: I love the materials included in this game. I use them for a variety of activities. The most common modification I make is to use backwards chaining, which means that I build most of the structure, then have the learner place the final block. Once they’ve mastered that, I build most of the structure, then have the learner place the final two blocks. I continue in this fashion until the learner is independently building the entire structure. Modifications for individual activities are described in greater detail below.

Problem Solving – Equilbrio is definitely more challening than it looks. There are six levels of difficulty to choose from. When you’ve found the right level for you learner, most of the challenges should require them to attempt the structure two or more times before succeeding. It provides an opportunity for them to think about why their structure fell, then address the problem in their next attempt.

Imitation Skills – For learners who may not be ready for the challenges presented in the game booklet, I will use the blocks to practice imiation skills. I will build a simple structure, then have them build the same structure. I appreciate that the blocks don’t look too babyish, so I can work on this skill with older children who struggle with it, without using materials that look like they belong in a preschool.

Block Imitation – At it’s simplest level, the game requires the player to look at the picture and recreate it with blocks. For learners who are not yet ready for the challenges presented in the game booklet, I will build structures, take pictures of those structures, then give the learner to the pictures for block imitation. The goal is to work up to the tasks presented in the game booklet. 

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Comparisons – Sometimes I bring out these blocks without the game booklet and both my learner and I build structures. When we’re done, we compare our two structures. We may talk about which structure is taller, shorter, wider, etc.

Shape Identification – These blocks are also great for discussing shapes and comparing two-dimensional shapes to three-dimensional shapes. For learners who are highly motivated by playing Equilibrio, I can do a quick lesson about comparing 2D and 3D shapes, then as a reinforcing activity following the lesson, they can complete 1-2 exercises from the game booklet.

Motor Skills – There are two reasons I love Equilbrio for higher-order motor skills. The first is that in order to be successful, the learner must be intentional and gentle in placing blocks. The second is that the structures in Equilibrio are almost always based on symmetry, which means that frequently the learner must place two blocks simultaneously in order to complete the task.

Symmetry – As aforementioned, many of the challenges presented in the game booklet are based on symmetry. The game is a wonderful way to explore symmetry.

Independent Play – This is a great option for independent play or for use in activity schedules to promote functional play during unstructured time.

Accepting Mistakes/Errors – The challenges presented in the game booklet are not simple! (In fact, many adults struggle with some of the more challening tasks.) For learners who love building structures, this is a great option for working on accepting mistakes and trying again. It’s also wonderful for working on the non-academic skill of perserverance. 

Pros: I appreciate any game that comes with multiple levels, and this one has SIX levels! I also appreciate that the materials look age-appropriate for any age child, making it possible to practice a variety of low level skills with older learners and avoid using babyish materials.

Cons: The game is a little pricey, but well worth it due to the quality of the materials and the scope of skills you can practice with it.

Extending the Lesson – For my learners who love structure-building, I remove the game booklet and have them create their own structures. Then the learner takes a picture of their completed structure and challenges siblings or peers to recreate it. This activity extends work in the area of symmetry and provides opportunities to engage with others.

equilibrioCost: $34.95  You should invest in this game if: you have a learner who is highy motivated by visual performance or structure-building activities, you are looking for tasks that learners with autism may be able to complete independently, or you are looking for high quality materials that can be used for a variety of activities. 

ABLLS: A19, B9, B12, B23, Z5, Z6, Z13, 

VB-MAPP: VP-MTS 13

**Equilibrio was provided to me for free by the company FoxMind to write about here at the blog. This did not influence my opinions on the game. The thoughts and ideas above are all my own.

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