“Unless we come up with a solution, every day will be Monday for the rest of the year,” introduced Westridge elementary’s Mashell Stott to her sixth grade class. The students then spent the next half hour using clues and solving puzzles, while trying to conquer a BreakoutEdu puzzle.

Students were divided into two groups and sent to work. They ordered planets according to length of day, counted school days on a calendar and solved long division problems in an attempt to figure out codes that opened locks on boxes. They were doing this in order to get closer to the final solution, which would solve the presented problem. All were highly engaged and eagerly seeking a way to “unlock” the answers.

Unfortunately for the students, time ran out before they solved everything correctly and got the answer they were seeking. Mrs. Stott lead an excellent debrief after the activity and asked the following:

  1. What was hard?
    The math, planets, how to figure out the locks and having a clock ticking down on the screen at the front of the classroom, were some of the student responses. (Others liked the clock.)
  2. What worked?
    “Teamwork,” was the overwhelming answer.
  3. What will you do differently the next time you’re faced with this kind of task?
    One student offered, “We should solve the clues first instead of just trying to find the key and trying to open the locks.”

A few others said, “We’ll work more effectively together if we ‘divide and conquer’. We should have more than one person working the math (and solving the problems) and then checking their work with each other.”

To say these students learned a few things is an understatement. All are looking forward to seeing their progress the next time they have an opportunity to participate in a BreakoutEDU activity!