Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Breakout EDU

This summer, my family stumbled upon “Race to Escape”, on the Discovery channel.  We loved watching teams work together to solve clues to breakout of a room before time ran out.

I was so excited when I saw a tweet about BreakoutEDU a few months ago.  After a bit of research, I knew I needed to incorporate Breakouts into my class.  

The purpose of a breakout is for students to work together to solve clue, unlock locks, and breakout (break into) a box.  Boxes can contain prizes, candy, or even just a congratulatory note.  I had Smarties in the boxes today and a student said he was hoping for just a few minutes of extra recess.

Today my class completed their fourth Breakout.  This one was created by another BreakoutEDU teacher and was a review of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.  Since I have a bit of experience now, the setup took about an hour last night.

After preparing the room and the locks, I walked through the session and made sure everything was in place. This is a very important step! Last night I realized I forgot to hide one of the clues.

When my students arrived in the room after lunch and saw the boxes, they were ready for action.

After showing an introductory video,

I broke my class into three random groups, gave them each a box, and set the timer for 45 minutes.

These students continue to amaze me with their problem solving abilities.  They’ve learned to look at a problem through a variety of lenses. If something doesn’t work, they go back to the clue and try again.  

We’ve also learned through this process that sometimes it is difficult to think outside the box.  Sometimes teams are sure they are on the right track and struggle to look at a clue another way.

Breakouts have a tendency to sneak outside our classroom, and today students needed to find a locker for their next clue.

For the first time, we used official hint cards. The students voted to not have a penalty attached to the cards. They did need to wait at least 15 minutes before using one, and the group had to unanimously agree to using a hint.

Although the focus of this breakout was on grammar, like most breakouts, this one incorporated other skills, like coordinate graphing.
This was our first time using red decoder glasses and the students were in awe.

By the way, a black light makes clues that much cooler!

Although no group was able to Breakout in 45 minutes, they had a lot of fun trying.

During our reflections, students said this was the hardest and most challenging Breakout yet. They also said it was the best!  It was also determined that it would be too difficult for the third grade class that plans on using it next week. Therefore, tomorrow my students will tweak the clues to make them more age appropriate.

For more information on BreakoutEDU, visit their website or join their Facebook page


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