A relatively new education innovation that has come to the CABOCES region is called Breakout EDU. This concept takes the idea of an escape room, a recreational activity where teams work together to get out of a locked room, and turns it into a learning activity for students where they work together to open a locked box. The idea behind this activity is that students will use their brains to solve various puzzles to get inside the tightly locked box which has several various types locks connected to it. These locks can be 3 or 4 digit combinations locks, directional locks, key locks, or even word locks requiring students to spell the correct word to open the lock. Various simulations and games are available on the BreakutEDU website, but teachers are also encouraged to build their own games for their students.
The end of the school year brought with it opportunities for students at Gail N. Chapman Elementary to participate in Breakout EDU and work together to open the box. The 2nd grade and 4th grade classes worked to find missing birthday presents and solve a chocolate mystery in the Breakout games they participated in at the end of the year. The challenge of breaking into the box was a mix of frustration, cheers, and ultimately success. The added difficulty of getting into the box in a limited amount of time brought motivation and challenge that pushed the students to use math strategies, geography, and chronological reasoning and thinking to accomplish the task. Congratulations to the students who didn’t give up, and who were able to proudly say “We Broke OUT!”.
Teachers appreciated the new experience that Breakout EDU was able to provide for their students, and are already discussing ways to incorporate the games into instruction for next year.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development