Our 5th graders can tell you all about planning a lesson using a lock-based game: Breakout-EDU.
This immersive learning game consists of a combination of physical puzzle elements that must be solved in a set amount of time. Players of all ages are challenged to break out the locked container using clues and problem-solving skills. Breakout-EDU empowers teachers to create engaging learning environments and cultivate career readiness skills.
During the first term of school, students in fifth grade who had opted to take my academic enrichment class* took on a big task and decided to incorporate their interest in history into a 90-minute lesson using a Breakout-EDU box. After they worked out all the fifth-grade history topics, they chose to focus on Portuguese history. This worked out very well, as this was the topic planned for December's lessons. Our Breakout-EDU lessons were delivered just on time before the end of the term.
The students worked tirelessly to learn about the history of Portugal: they researched online, borrowed books from the library, interviewed teachers, and took notes on how to plan and deliver the objective of a history lesson. They incorporated their original ideas into a five-part challenge lesson. Plans include unlocking the Breakout combination padlocks and will be delivered in a fifth-grade history lesson.
*Students may opt for academic enrichment in lieu of a second foreign language (e.g., French or Spanish; all students take Portuguese).
The benefits of Breakout-EDU
There is much that can be learned from this type of session--it is not just a game. It is kid-friendly, engaging, and involves critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. It gives students who struggle a chance to show what they can do and provides everyone with an equal opportunity to take part.
This type of game teaches children to have a growth mindset, where the participants don’t give up, regardless of how hard it gets or how many times they fail. There are clue cards available when a team decides it is unable to move forward without a little help.
While Breakout-EDU tests children’s cognitive limits, it also encourages grit as they encounter setbacks, test out what they think they know, and try the combinations on the multi-locks. If either of the teams is wrong, they go back, think, reevaluate, and try again until they remove all the locks from the Breakout box before the timer runs out to complete the game. It’s a truly authentic learning experience for students that combines curriculum and character development to help teachers create 21st-century learners.
How long does it take to plan for a Breakout-EDU activity?
While planning one of these activities is somewhat time-consuming, when it is planned as a one-off activity to mark the beginning or end of a unit, the time spent is definitely worthwhile. Additionally, once you have learned and experienced planning and setting the multi-padlocks, you have it on record and can use it anytime.
Also, once you plan and execute one fun, engaging lesson, you will definitely want to do more. When this option was offered to two teams consisting of about 30 teachers each, their desire to win went beyond expectation. The teachers were given the opportunity to try the Breakout-EDU box, then determine if they could incorporate it into one of their lessons this academic year.
Some of their reflections included the following: “Micro-teams within one big team, who came together to help solve a series of unresolved clues” and “It was a fun, engaging, and competitive session.”