Blockbusters was a popular TV game show for Thames TV in the UK. It is a word game and so ideal in Education where learners have to master new words at every age and in every subject. It is also a team game and many learners really enjoy collaborating in groups. Fremantle Media, the owners of the rights to the TV show, have licensed Robert Powell Publications to adapt the game for use in classrooms in the UK and USA.

Key Features

  • Builds key vocabulary and can be used equally well with young children learning to read right up to high school and college students where an understanding of technical and conceptual language is so important.
  • The software is easy to use and clues to the key words can be text, images, music, sounds or voice.
  • Teams compete to complete the Blockbusters grid but can block the other team’s path. Great fun!
  • The licence allows students to muse it on the network so they can plan games for the class as easily as teachers.

Document - Full set primary topic listView
Document - Full set secondary topic listView
Video clip - Editor making MfL gameView
Video clip - Playing the game (French) with commentaryView
Document - List of Design and Technology 11-14 topicsView
Document - List of French topicsView
Document - List of German topicsView
Document - List of History and Geography 11-14 topicsView
Document - List of Physical Education and Sport 14-16 topicsView
Document - List of Religious Education 11-14 topicsView
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Q1 What is the purpose of Blockbusters?

Two teams compete to complete the Blockbusters grid by knowing the answer to a word clue.

Q2. Will Blockbusters work on any whiteboard?

Yes. It does not even need a whiteboard. A PC and a digital projector is all you need to play the game with a class.

Q3. What kinds of questions can be used with Blockbusters?

Any. It works well with any age and with any subject. It is excellent for learning vocabulary, but can also be used for grammar in, for example, learning a foreign language.

Q4. Are there published sets of Blockbusters games?

Yes. There are over 500 Blockbusters games ready-to-use for 9 subjects for ages 7-16.

Q5 Can users create their own games?

Yes. The basic Create Your own Blockbusters allows users to make their own games using text, images and sounds/voice/music clues. This Editor is also included when users purchase any of the Blockbusters games for different subjects.

Q6. How can Blockbusters be used?

  1. It works well as a starter to reinforce key words that will be used during that lesson.
  2. It can also be used at the end of a lesson to test understanding of key words.
  3. Some teachers use it as a ‘brain break’ in long sessions. A 10-minute Blockbusters game in the middle of a long session can refresh the minds.
  4. The Editor is a network resource, so students can be give the role of preparing a game on an agreed topic for the rest of the class to play.

Q7. Can learners play in pairs?

Yes. Once installed there is an ‘individual’ version of Blockbusters that allows two players to compete. In this version they have to type in their answers.

Q8. Sometimes the answer may not be obvious, even to the teacher. Can teachers look at the questions in advance of playing?

Yes. If teachers open the Editor and select the game they want to play, the Blockbusters Editor screen displays the grid with all the letters on. If users want to print out all the questions and answers go to ‘file’ and select ‘print’. A full set of questions with answers will be printed out.

Q9. Can users edit existing games?

Yes. Most of the published games are text only – the cost of paying for copyrighted images was too high. Users can insert images or sounds/voice/music clues in the Editor. Open the game you want to edit in the Editor and make the changes you want. Save the edited file using ‘save as’ and place in a folder of your choice. This will leave the original file untouched.

Q10. Can the game be used in foreign languages?

Yes. When teachers create their own game in the Editor there are 4 language options at the top of the screen: French, German, Spanish and Welsh. Select this before inserting your questions. A special characters box can be used while inserting text.

Q11. Are there any rules for the game?

No specific rules but the following guidelines may help to mange the game better.

  1. Appoint a captain for each team and as the other team members to gather round away from the other team.
  2. Tell the captains that shouting out answers is not allowed and that if team members break this rule then the question is automatically awarded to the other team.
  3. The captain can consult the team over the question and nominate one person to answer. Some teachers insist that there is only one answer per person to prevent all the questions beings answered by the same learner.
  4. The teacher might want to have a time limit (e.g. 30 seconds) for a team to consult before answering. If this is exceeded then the x is clicked and the question goes to the other team.
  5. If both teams struggle to find the answer the teacher might give hints to each team in turn.