Interval Tower Game

This new game was a BIG hit with my elementary students at group lessons last week.    We’re working on instant recognition of intervals (without having to count lines and spaces), which takes a LOT of drill.    With this game, though, the kids wanted to keep playing the whole lesson!  Here’s how we played:

I divided the students into partners and gave each pair a set of interval cards and a box of blocks.  I picked up some generic-brand Jenga blocks at an after-Christmas sale, but any blocks (or anything that stacks), will do.  One partner started by drawing a card, identifying the interval, then adding that number of blocks to his tower. Next, his partner did the same.  Play continued back and forth until all of the blocks were used, or one partner’s tower toppled.  IF the team used all of their blocks, the student with the highest tower at the end was the winner.

To keep it competitive, I stipulated that students could only stack one block per layer (instead of traditional Jenga-style stacks).  In the picture above, my students had been playing for a while and decided to get creative with their towers!

The cards are available for download from my studio site. There are 6 pages of playing cards that include intervals on pictured keyboards and in both the treble and bass clefs.  There is also a 7th page with graphics if you wish to print backs on the cards.


Comments

Interval Tower Game — 8 Comments

  1. Hi Jen,
    just wanted to say thank you for some really creative teaching ideas. I really enjoy browsing through your site, it usually sparks some inspiration! This week I played the tower game with my pupils as we have been working on intervals as our challenge topic this term. They loved it. I also had another idea to take it a step further and incorporate playing. I am going to use it with a piece of short sightreading and build a tower from the interval shapes in the music and then ask pupils to play it.
    One more interval idea. I made a floor keyboard with card – each white key the size of an A4 sheet and an octave in total, and blu-tacked it to my floor. I’ve had my pupils jumping or stepping and skipping up and down on it, using interval flashcards in a timed game.
    That was a great success too!
    Alison

  2. Hi Alison,

    I’m glad you’ve found some things you can use! I love the idea of using the towers with the sightreading piece. That could even be a fun way to take simple melodic dictation…. now I have new ideas to try. Thanks!

    I bet your students have had a blast with the floor keyboard! That’s on my list of “to-dos” to make this summer….

    Jen

  3. Here’s a twist on your game that my students love….We stack the blocks Jenga style first and then use the interval cards to determine how many blocks the student needs to remove. :o) The boys love this version.

  4. Here’s a reverse idea modification to your awesome game…write numbers on the ends of each jenga block to represent intervals (2′s-8′s) putting the same number on each end of the block using marker. Then build a typical jenga tower like you’d play a regular jenga game. Use the interval cards as originally described, but after correctly identifying the intervals, the players remove a block with the number that coresponds to their interval. The player who avoids causing the tower to topple is deemed the winner.

    • Cecilly –

      I love the variation!! I usually play this game in the spring to help prepare students for theory exams – we’re going to have to try it with the number labels this time around. Thanks for the idea!!

      Jen

  5. I liked the flash cards; think the kids will like using them. Do you know of any good music learning games on the internet? I have music ace, but you need a CD for that.

    • Hi Sharon,

      Tonic Tutor (www.tonictutor.com) has a nice set of games. With their free account you can assign games and track up to 10 students. I haven’t personally used it, but I know that Music Learning Community (www.musiclearningcommunity.com) has a TON of online games as well. They have varying subscription rates, depending on how many student accounts you want.

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