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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Truth or Dare Music Jenga

I've been mulling over some new center ideas since this summer, and I'm excited to share one of those with you today: Truth or Dare Music Jenga! The game has been a hit with my students in every grade, and it has been a great way to throw in some review and practice for important skills, concepts, and vocabulary that we've been working on in class.

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First I'll explain how the game works and then I'll talk about how I put it together (it honestly wasn't as complicated or time-consuming as it may seem). To play, students take turns taking a block out of the jenga tower. Before they can place the block on top of the tower to complete their turn, they have to complete a task. If they pull out a red block, they draw a card from the red "dare" pile, and if they pull out a blue block, they draw one from the blue "truth" pile. If they can't complete their task, the next player gets to "steal" their block by completing the task and adding the block to the top of the tower. If they complete it, they set the block on top of the tower. The person who makes the block tower fall over loses, and/or the person with the most cards when the tower falls over or the cards are all gone wins.

This idea all started when I came across these mini jenga blocks this summer. I had heard that the Dollar Tree had some, but hadn't had any luck at my local stores, so I was excited when I found these online (even though they were a little more expensive)! I toyed around with some different ideas for ways to use them in music class, and ended up with this "truth or dare" idea.

The first step in putting the game together was to color the blocks. I know some teachers have dyed the blocks, and you can also buy blocks that are already colored, but I took the easy way out and just colored the outside edges with sharpies (it took me about 15 minutes while I sat through another meeting on analyzing student test score data from standardized math tests).

The next step was to make the cards. The "dare" cards have different performance tasks, like clapping rhythms, dancing, singing, or conducting. The "truth" cards have trivia questions, like identifying different music symbols, naming instruments within an instrument family, or defining music vocabulary. I made a bunch of cards to cover skills and concepts for different grade levels- if you want a copy of the cards I made (with blank versions where you can add your own text) you can get them here, or you can certainly make your own with whatever concepts you want to cover.

After that, all I had to do was print, cut, and assemble. I mounted each card with a little piece of double-sided tape on some construction paper, both to color-code them and so you can't see the printed text from the other side of the card, then laminated them so they'll last longer.

I'm actually really excited about the possibilities with these "truth or dare" cards- my head has been spinning with other applications for them! I can pull them out for a simple card game, where teams choose a card and then complete the task, or I could use it as an added step for other games besides Jenga- I could use it with tic-tac-toe, where the students have to complete a card before filling in a spot on the board, or with some sort of board game, where certain spots on the board require players to draw a red or blue card before advancing.....

What other ideas do you have for using "truth or dare" cards to review and practice music skills in a fun way? I'm sure there are lots more- leave your ideas in the comments! If you want to see some of my other favorite center activities, here's a post I wrote with some of my favorite ideas.

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  1. Where do you put the answers? I figure the back won't work because they would be upside down in a pile...

    1. I don't write down the answers- I just verbally tell them if nobody in the group knows for sure.