During recent Lab Days, some groups of students participated in a Breakout EDU game in the Library. Breakout EDU is an immersive learning platform that resembles the popular escape rooms. In this particular game, students were presented with the scenario of a mixed up library and were asked to apply their knowledge of literary genres to solve the puzzles. The students had forty-five minutes to unlock four individual combination locks to achieve the “We Broke Out!” champion status.
The locks varied: 3- and 4-digit combination locks, and 5-character alphabetical lock, and a 5-character directional lock. The students also hunted for a key that unlocked a smaller lockbox containing a black light flashlight that allowed them to discover hidden clues on the documents. Students used any resources at their disposal to solve the puzzles, including QR code scanner applications on smartphones, internet resources, and their own deductive reasoning.
It delighted Breakout EDU facilitator Mrs. Woolfrey to see how the students applied their knowledge and problem-solving skills to crack the combinations. At the onset of the game, each group received two hint cards that they could use when they got stuck, but the students frequently persevered, determined to solve the problem without teacher assistance. Collaborating and communicating as a group were keys to the students’ success. In some cases, students used a “divide and conquer” approach, while for other clues, students put their heads together and talked it out to determine the answer.
With the Breakout EDU platform, Grier teachers have access to an online database of games designed by other educators, as well as, the ability to custom design their own game. The games can be played in person, with the physical locks or digitally, using a virtual lock. As word spreads about the students’ positive experiences using Breakout EDU, Mrs. Woolfrey hopes to work with more teachers, incorporating the platform into more classes.