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Dr. Beaker

Lower Age: 8+
Website: http://store.blueorangegames.com/p/dr-beaker
Price: $19.99
Year Added: 2017
Product Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0mjmavDcBg

Dr. Beaker is a game for children eight years and up that can include up to eight players! The game comes with 4 Beakers, 4 Stirring Rods, 24 Colored Balls (8 Orange, 8 Purple, 8 Green), 50 Challenge Cards, and set of illustrated rules. The goal of the game is for players to help their client, Dr. Beaker, finish his chemistry experiments by creating different arrangements of molecules to match the Challenge Cards. Players work with the molecules (different-colored balls) as they move around compartments on a rotating platform. To reach the desired molecule arrangement, players must use stirring rods to move the molecules through the center area of the beaker. This constraint makes gameplay challenging, but fun! Another important aspect of the game is its emphasis on teamwork and collaboration. Dr. Beaker offers two different game modes that encourage play with a friend. For example, in one of those variations, the first player is a technician who must tell the chemist (their partner) about the arrangement of molecules, and the chemist must then use the stirring rod to rearrange them. In the other, things get a bit more competitive! Both players have a stack of five cards in front of them, and they must match their molecules’ arrangements to the cards one at a time until all five cards are complete! This game helps develop spatial reasoning as children learn how to match their molecules’ colors to achieve the arrangements outlined on the Challenge Cards. Additionally, children learn the value of perseverance as they devise creative ways to move the balls without letting them get out of control!

 

Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about: Define a problem, make observations, plan a solution, try the solution, test the solution, recognize patterns, work in a team (competitively; options for teams)

 

Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: A client, criteria, constraints

 

Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift:

Spatial reasoning skills, creative thinking, working collaboratively, problem solving, perseverance

 

 

Overall ratings:

  • Children Reviews
    • Rating:  NA
    • Feedback: NA
  • Parents Reviews
    • Rating: NA
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  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews
    • Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “ It involves lots of engineering thinking and design practices and, in particular, such important one as teamwork (there are 2 variations for a greater number of players that involve working and communicating in pairs). When a card gets revealed, players generate ideas and plan how to achieve desired configuration of molecules. While playing the game, I noticed that I eventually started to recognize the most efficient way to rearrange the molecules (optimizing the solution). The game has a client (Dr. Beaker), criteria, and constraints (players have to use the central area to rearrange molecules). I'd say that this game develops spatial reasoning as well (arrangement of molecules in respect to one another, color, right/left, etc.) and fosters perseverance (molecules often get out of one's control).”
      • “This game challenges players to think spatially, especially if planning solutions before attempting to complete the puzzle. It would be challenging for all ages when played competitively! I think the team variation described in the directions would be an excellent way for kids to practice communication and planning. When played collaboratively, kids must be able to communicate clearly and sequentially in order to win!”