I love throwing problems at my students and having them use their brain power to solve them. They are challenged and grow based upon these types of problems that are new to them, that they don’t know yet how to approach. It stretches their minds and requires them to run trial-and-error like thoughts.
I did this recently with digital Breakout EDU. If you don’t know what digital Breakout EDU is, click here and start exploring. Basically, it’s a digitized escape room for students.
I gave them Og’s Great Adventure and said, “OK, go!”
“What? Wait, what are we doing?”
“Figure it out.”
*Sigh* “Ms. Pilson! … ok.”
And off they went. At first, I wanted them to work individually and rely on their own thinking and problem-solving skills to figure out what the aim was and then solve the locks. I didn’t tell them that I would later let them work in groups because I knew some of my students would just give up and wait until they could get help.
After about 15 minutes, I informed them they could choose to either continue working independently, with a partner, or with a small group, but they had to stay quiet so as not to ruin it for those wanting to work alone.
It was inspiring to see students go, “OH!” and gasp and get excited about solving something on their own and by working it out with a group. T
hey loved working trying to solve these puzzles and felt so accomplished when they were done.
I tried to increase their energy and said that the first one to figure out all the locks would get a small prize. Mostly, students will compete just to be the winner.
Some snags I ran into is that our district blocks any bit.ly URLs so students got stuck there. One called me over and said, “If I can’t get to this website, how can I solve the puzzle?”
“Great question! So, what can you do when a site is blocked on the district wifi?”
“Solve the problem.”
It took a bit more prodding, but eventually, the student figured out she could use her cell phone with the data plan to access the blocked bit.ly URL.
Another snag is that the “Digital Sandbox” is blocked as well, so we have to pull those links up on the phone and then send them to our devices.
Over the past few days, I’ve let digital Breakout EDU become a way for students to work together, but I also have a new idea in mind.
I told the students after their first experience with digital Breakout EDU that they can choose one of two options for our research unit. They can choose the traditional research paper, OR they could choose to work in a group and create a digital Breakout EDU game using Google Sites that teaches players about writing a research paper or about the research process.
Guess which one they chose?
I’ll have more posts about how this new project is coming along, but I’d love to hear how you use this site. Have you used it before? Is this your first time with it? What are your ideas? Share in the comment section below!