# Mental Blox 360 3D Building Game

Lower Age: 5+ https://www.learningresources.com/product/mental-blox-jr-early-logic-game-9285.do?sortby=ourPicks&refType=&from=Search&ecList=6&ecCategory= \$29.99 2016

Mental Blox 360° is a 3D puzzle game that challenges children to think in a 360° environment. In the game, players must build a shape laid out on a card using a selection of basic blocks. However, they are only given one face of the shape (the player has a 2D view of a 3D object), and they must determine how all the blocks from that one image. The view they are given will be specified, but it can be any direction or on any side. With 15 colorful puzzle pieces, children test their ability to recreate the models after seeing different perspectives of an image on 40 double-sided challenge cards. There are levels of increasing difficulty, so that more advanced levels incorporate more blocks. The game also uses constraints, such as the tower that is built must always be freestanding. Therefore, a fallen tower indicates an incorrect solution to the puzzle. There is a strong emphasis on spatial reasoning and creative thinking. These are critical skills in all engineering fields, because graphical data is often represented in a limited number of views and it is up to an engineer’s mind to fill in the blanks in order to interpret data into a 360° understanding. Additionally, children are asked to think critically about how and where they are going to place the blocks to design a solution. The game can be played alone, or cooperatively with another person, with either way promoting a better understanding of how objects’ appearances change based on position and perspective.

Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about: Make observations, try the solution, make improvements to the solution, define a problem, ask questions, generate ideas, plan the solution, create the prototype or process, test the solution, analyze the solution, redesign the solution, refine ideas, recognize patterns, communicate the solution, apply mathematics, apply science, logic

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

Critical thinking, evidence-based reasoning, design, working as a team, problem solving

Overall ratings:

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• Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews
• Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0
• Feedback:
• “Gives the player a problem, that they must creatively and critically thinking to come up with a solution for, additionally great for enhancing spatial reasoning skills”