My daughter turned 13 last month. To surprise her, I invited a group of her friends to a place in San Antonio called, “The Panic Room.” The hostess set the scene of the “Museum Heist” up by telling about a museum robbery gone wrong. The 10 girls were given the mission of finding the most valuable item in the room to save their families from the robber who had taken them hostage. They had one hour.
The parents were able to watch the group as they worked their way through the clues, all contained in the room. There were mysterious codes, locked boxes, and secret hiding places.
Did I mention that these were eight 13-year-olds and two 20-something-year-olds? Oh, and they couldn’t bring their phones in with them.
For the entire hour, these 10 girls ransacked the room, collaborated over clues, celebrated when they cracked codes, and laughed.
In other words, they were engaged in the task the entire time.
“I have got to find a way to use this in my classroom,” I thought. And then I added it to my mental list of a bazillion engaging ideas that I keep in my Index of Innovation.
Lo and behold, I clicked on a Twitter link yesterday, and found that someone else had the same idea – and they followed it through with resources for educators.
I found the link to Breakout EDU in this article by Nicholas Provenzano called, “Re-Energize Your Classroom in the New Year.” The post has other fabulous suggestions that you should also consider. Breakout EDU was new to me, so I followed the link to find out more.
Breakout Edu is open beta right now, which means that the project is still in development, but open to the public to test it out. The site currently provides six games that are free (with several more to come, it looks like), but you will need to register as a beta tester to receive the password that gives you access to the games along with the clues and answers. You will need to invest in a Breakout Edu Kit, which includes the basic equipment for any of the challenges. To do this, you have the option of buying a kit for $99, scraping up your own materials, or individually ordering the pieces you need through the provided Amazon links.
The games that are currently on the site inform you of the target age groups and the ideal group sizes. Some of the topics are: “The Candy Caper” (3rd-5th grades, ideal groups of 4-6 people), “Decoding the War” (14-adult with groups of 6-12 people), and “The Mad Engineer” (for ages 10-14 with groups of 5-10 people). There is also information for creating your own Breakout EDU game.
Follow this link for information about a Breakout EDU Game Jam that will be happening this week!
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to try this with my students! Fortunately, I have rather small class sizes. For teachers with a regular, or larger, class load, you may need to get creative on how to give everyone the opportunity to try to “break out.” Knowing the audience who reads this blog, I don’t think that will be a problem ;)