Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Anyone want to Breakout(EDU) of this place?!

We are approaching (slowly) our (much needed) February break. Every year we are grateful for this respite, but this year, we are especially appreciative. Like in most schools, the week leading up to break can be a challenging teaching time.

But unlike most years, one grade is upping their teaching game this week. And already, the students who are leaving early for vacation (must be nice!) are bumming that they're missing out. 

Enter BreakoutEDU.
(And imagine BreakoutEDU entering through one of those big banners sports teams run through when they enter a stadium for a big game!)

Fourth grade is immersed in their study of our great state of Michigan. They've explored a variety of topics thus far, and are heading into the history of logging, and how critical of a role lumber plays in Michigan's history.

Later this week, they'll experience something dubbed "Lumberjack Day" complete with stereotypical plaid and heavy lumberjack food. The kids will dive into tools, camp set-up and tear-down, jobs within logging camps, and more.

And we'll put it all together with a detail oriented digital BreakoutEDU kit that I put together specially for this topic! Which is my favorite thing about BreakoutEDU.

Yes, there are over 1,800 BreakoutEDU kits ready to go, with over 700 printable sets for the actual Breakout EDU boxes. Yes, the topics cover just about everything imaginable for Kindergarten through High School (even adults!) Yes, there is even a lock-of-the-day challenge that anyone can tackle.

But sometimes, you need a special kit to meet your needs.

So you have two options:

1) Remix a kit that is already online or
2) Make your own kit using BreakoutEDU's Design Platform.
(Technically, there is an option 3 - have students create kits!)

Because I wanted to tailor the kit specifically to Michigan Lumbering, I went with option 2 and spent the weekend deepening my learning on logging, and building a pretty rockin' kit!

The ideal puzzles for a BreakoutEDU are ones that are not obvious until you figure it out, and then once you do, the lightbulb goes off.

For example, one of the riddles uses the Lumberjack Alphabet. (Technically it's a song, but for the purpose of the puzzle, I turned it into a poem.) As you'll see below, there are ten "lines" in the clue. Each line is color coded. Each line references a line in the Alphabet. The colors are hints as well. Kids will need scratch paper next to them to solve, and will have to not only read, but synthesize the information, combing through their Michigan resources both in print and in their memory, to figure out the answer. Once they get it, a lot of lightbulbs will go off!

Other examples of great locks use math, but not in the standard mathematical algorithm. Instead of solving straight-up math problems, students have to take information from the clue (which points to a graph) and puzzle through a lengthy series to reach the answer. Things like "the most profitable year subtracted from the year Michigan became a state" requires kids to use more than Google to solve the lock.

BreakoutEDU energizes any subject, any age, and is one of my favorite ways to solidify understanding of concepts. And as of yesterday, I am a BreakoutEDU Certified Ambassador happy to help you find the fun in Breaking out!


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