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Dr. Microbe

Lower Age: 8+
Price: $19.99
Year Added: 2017

Dr. Microbe is a game for children eight and up that requires the use of logical reasoning to solve fast-paced challenges. Included with the game are 49 microbes, 5 petri dishes, 4 lab tweezers, and 54 Challenge Cards. A set of illustrated rules provides an easy-to-understand basis for gameplay. Based on pictures from the Challenge Cards, players are tasked with quickly and correctly organizing microbes in petri dishes, so that their arrangement matches the pattern shown in the picture. This process involves players defining a problem when they first see a Challenge Card, such as asking ‘what kind of pattern do I need to create in my dish?’ From those initial questions, players must quickly work to solve the challenge and be the first one to yell ‘Eureka!’ Then all of the players must use evidence-based reasoning to analyze the solution to determine whether or not it is correct. However, every challenge has multiple solutions, which means that there are many opportunities for children to use creative thinking as they play. In addition to traditional gameplay, the illustrated rules detail three variations for an added level of challenge. For example, one variation adds a special type of microbe that players can put in their opponents’ dishes to make finding a solution even harder. Dr. Microbe is a fast-paced game that develops pattern recognition and spatial reasoning skills while encouraging vivacious, competitive group play!


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


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, logical thinking



Overall ratings:

  • Children Reviews
    • Rating: 3.9 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “I like that it's very competitive but it's still fun and it's for groups.” F, 12
      • “I loved the suspense of who can win.” M, 12
    • “I like that it is a fast paced game that you can play for hours.” M, 11
  • Parents Reviews
    • Rating: 3.6 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “I like the concept and ease of the game. While we could play with two players, my daughter and I felt it would have been much more fun with more than two people.” parent of 10-year-old
      • “It was great! My daughter loved it!” parent of 7-year-old
  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews
    • Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “This game requires kids to analyze differences in color and shape between objects. It can be easily increased in difficulty with the fun and unique variations during competitive play. Kids must be able to communicate their solutions, as well as survey the solutions of opponents fairly! Kids will learn process-of-elimination skills. Challenges memory to remember and fellow constraints.”
      • “It's a great game to learn pattern and color recognition as well as time-restricted decision making and logical thinking.”