Escape rooms have been popping up all over the country.  Group of people are willingly locked in an escape room and are given an hour to “break out.”  They follow clues posted or hidden in the room, sidestep the red herrings, and work together to beat the clock.  The startup Breakout EDU has developed a way to use this playful, exciting model in the classroom.  Rather than breaking out of a room, Breakout EDU’s materials present puzzles for students to decipher, each clue leading to another, and ultimately to the locked strongbox.  These items can be used to create puzzles and treasure hunts for your students to develop their understanding of concepts while they grow as collaborators, problem solvers, and critical thinkers. 

The administrators capitalized on their experience and, as part of a series of workshops on the Shared Valued Outcomes during New Teacher Orientation, challenged the new teachers to engage as problem solvers and thinkers in a different “Break Out” experience.  One new teacher shared, “The experience forced me out of my comfort zone as I tried a range of alternatives to solve the problems and open the box.  It really inspired me to think about how to engage my students in authentic problem solving.”

Article by Dr. Carol Smyth
Photos by Shelly Newman