Some may say I’ve gone a little BreakoutEDU crazy since we brought six boxes into our district in December. I must agree I’ve caught the fever! I have so much to share about the amazing adventures I’ve been on as I’ve witnessed learning come alive in every grade K-12 with a set of BreakoutEDU boxes and locks. It's blown my mind! There will be more blog posts to come, but today I will focus on how we've extended the BreakoutEDU experience beyond classrooms so families could also take part in the magic!
It all started back in February when one of our elementary schools that had caught hold of the fever, approached me about incorporating BreakoutEDU into their STEAM Family Nights. I thought it was a fantastic idea and was super excited to help facilitate it. One of the teacher’s took the idea and ran, finding isolated clues of varying difficulties on the BreakoutEDU platform. We printed and laminated them to make sure they could stand up to lots of handling. To create as many stations as possible, we divided the small and large boxes and placed each of the 12 on a table with the corresponding clue. Every box was locked with the BreakoutEDU sign and candies inside. We also had some stations with a digital BreakoutEDU game set up as additional options. When families solved the puzzle, we took a picture of them with the sign and locked the box back up. It was an incredible success!
After coming home tonight from the third successful BreakoutEDU experience I’ve helped facilitate for a STEAM night, I felt compelled to share how I set it up in case other schools would like to do something similar.
Facilitators: Select 3-4 staff members that can help facilitate each station. Give them a key containing the combination codes and give them a run through of how the puzzles are solved so they are able to guide families as needed.
Location: Each STEAM night that I have facilitated took place in the school library and it worked perfectly! However, you could make this work in a variety of spaces. Just make sure you have a space where families can gather around the box and have room to solve the puzzle.
Station Set-up: Place a locked box, corresponding clue, and scratch paper/pencil at each table.
If there are computer stations in the space you are facilitating, set up a few digital games for families to rotate to. Families can start at any station they choose. Once they unlock a box, they can take a bookmark (or other item, if you choose) out of the box and have a facilitator take a picture of them holding the BreakoutEDU sign. I think it would be really fun, though haven’t done it, to have Polaroid camera to take pictures of each family as they solve it so you can send them home with a keepsake from the experience. Or, have a green screen set up to take a picture in front of! Facilitators will lock boxes back up as they are opened so the next family can work to solve it. It is possible to make this work with only two facilitators, but I have found that four works perfectly as some are needed to help guide families when they get stuck and others can be looking for boxes that need to be relocked as well as restocking with bookmarks, etc as needed.
This system worked exceptionally well and the families loved the experience! The number of stations seemed like the right amount for crowd flow as there weren't any families waiting for a table to open up. Incorporating BreakoutEDU into a STEAM or other type of family night is great way for parents and guardians to witness the 4 C’s (creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking) in action as well as create a challenging, fun, and memorable experience. I would highly recommend bringing BreakoutEDU to your next STEAM or family night! Such an amazing time was had by all!
Tech Integration Specialist in Southern Oregon and author of Make Learning Magical. I'm passionate about finding innovative ways to transform teaching and create unforgettable experiences in the classroom.