block talk

In Block Talk, teams of players collaborate to build structures out of colored cube-shaped blocks using the cards as their reference. One player is the director, and the other is the builder. The catch is, only the director can see the card, but only the builder can see the blocks. Also, only the director can speak freely; the builder can only ask for repeats of instructions, nothing else.

The goal is to get through as many cards as possible in 2 minutes. In order to succeed, players must be skilled at giving and receiving very clear and specific directions.

I created this game in collaboration with math educators at Quest to Learn. They wanted a lead-in activity for learning the Order of Operations that underscored the importance of clear communication between mathematicians. The game has since found use in other domains such as language and computational thinking.

As with all classroom games, I wanted to make the game simple and easily executable, with few rules and few materials. However, it also needed to be deep enough to hold student interest and teach them something about communication. During the design process, I relied on student playtesting to identify successes and challenges in implementation.