My husband made some robot figures on his 3D printer and gave them to me. Since I have a lot of students who like robots, I thought it would be fun to make a game and use them.
Keeping with my piano game philosophy of only playing fast games so we can spend most of our time learning artistry at the piano, (yes, that is my goal, after all!) I created a game called RoboRama. I tested it out on my K-5 students and both girls and boys liked it, so I decided it is worth sharing. This game can be played in less than 5 minutes if you play it the way we did. It’s over so fast they were excited to have time to play it more than once.
This is a game to review theory terms, so I made the cards in different levels, starting with primer. I actually went through all the primer level books I’ve collected over the years to make sure I was using common primer level symbols. So keep this game in mind when you start new students. If your student is really new, you can print out several pages of just the keyboard cards and play with those. Texas teachers, the key signatures for the 5th grade of the TMTA test are included.
To allow the different levels to be easy to use, I made 2 different ink-saving colored backs for the theory cards. This allows me to customize a game using cards from several levels, and to easily put the cards back in the correct order. You can do the same thing by using different colored card stock for each level, or even writing, drawing, or using stickers on the back to help you keep the levels straight. I don’t know about you, but I have different levels of students who come back to back and if I want to use the game with all of them I need to be able to separate the cards quickly. Check out my FAQ above if you don’t know how to keep from printing the entire document.
I used a business card template, because I have a large box of business cards that I bought on sale some years ago, and I have plenty left. If you don’t have business cards or you want to use colored card stock, there are cutting lines on the edges. Here is a link to Amazon if you want to order a large box of 1000 cards at a good price that will last you years and years. [Amazon pays me a few cents if you buy something I link. It helps support the growing cost of maintaining this site.]
When I was writing the directions for this game, it seemed so complicated, but it’s really not. Actually, it’s a fast and easy game, because that is all I can think of!
Students answer a question, roll a die, and move the number on the die. They move on the green dots on the outside oval. If they land on a big green dot next to a house, they start moving toward the center. If they draw a RoboRama card, they try to knock over an opponent’s token. That’s all there is to it!
Your students might be interested to know that robotics clubs often have contests with motorized robot vehicles that are programmed to move ping-pong balls. My husband and son have made these kinds of robots and I love to watch robot contests, so that is where I got the idea for this game.
- To review musical symbols, intervals, key signatures, a few notes in middle C position, and some music vocabulary words.
- Grades 1-5, using the appropriate cards for the concepts students have learned.
Number of Players
- Two to four players. The teacher can play with a student, or students can play in a group lesson.
- Game board and symbol card printables.
- One die.
- A different, small token for each player that stands, so it can be knocked over.
- One ping-pong ball or another small rolling ball.
- Print the game board and cut out the cards.
- Each player puts their token on a house on the game board. The first player draws a card and identifies the symbol. If students do not know the symbol, give them hints until they get it correct. No one loses a turn if they don’t know the answer in my games! We are not trying to teach life lessons about winning and losing, just learning a little music theory.
- After drawing and answering the card, the student rolls the die and uses that number to move their token on the green dots of the large outside oval, not toward the center. Players take turns drawing cards, rolling the die, and moving their token on the green dots on the outside oval.
- When a student lands on one of the large green dots next to a house, they turn and move toward the center, playing the same way as before. The first player to reach the center is the winner.
- If no player lands on a large green dot, the game is over when a player goes completely around the oval and passes or lands on his starting “home.”
- However, if a player draws a RoboRama card, he rolls the ping-pong ball to try to knock over an opposing player’s token. If he is successful, he gets 2 more turns to draw and the opposing player starts over at “home”. If he is unsuccessful, you can adjust the rules to the age of the student. The older students let to set the rules before they start. There is a big difference in kindergarten and 5th grade. Really any way you play is fine, as long as the students are having fun and learning something.
- Students always ask me if they need to roll the exact number as they head toward the winning center. That depends on the age of the student and how much time we have. In a piano lesson, if they roll a number over the required number to get to the center, they win. In a piano camp or a long group lesson, I might require the exact number to get to the center.
Why I Like This Game
- It doesn’t take much lesson time.
- When I play this game with students, I discover right away what they know and what they need work on. So it is like an achievement test, only a lot more fun!