Monthly Archives: December 2015

Break Out

Yesterday, my colleague and I ran our first ‘break out’ with our classes (Grade 2 and 4).  A ‘breakout’ is an engaging learning game, where the players have a set amount of time (in our case 45minutes) to solve a series of challenges, riddles and questions in order to breakout!

To prepare for our breakout, we downloaded a kit from BreakoutEDU and we chose a game with a math place value focus.  Then we bought a multitude of locks (3 digit, 4 digit, alphabet, directional and key locks) and we collected a series of math manipulatives.  Finally our colleague in secondary used the 3D printer to create the breakout boxes for us, but you can also purchase the kits from

This took a lot of preparation, but was it worth it?

… Yes!

  • The students were deeply engaged and immersed in the activity, racing against the clock.
  • The students improved their teamwork skills.  When one girl got the wrong answer, another team mate was overheard saying “Don’t worry, we all make mistakes”.
  • Students had to problem solve and apply critical thinking to solve the riddles.  “This is impossible” or “This is too difficult” was called out as they persevered!
  • Students applied their place value knowledge in order to obtain the 4 digit codes.
  • Students had to troubleshoot “Hang on, I don’t have a QR reader on my iPad, what do I do?”

Claire and I reflected on what we would do differently next time:

  1. ​Have smaller teams of 4 students (we have 6-7)
  2. Have more than one laptop to complete the puzzles (this caused a queue)
  3. Have more than one ipad to enter the final code (This also caused a queue)
  4. Use a large space, free of clutter so that it is easier to identify which objects are clues, such as a sports hall, a large corridor or a meeting room.
  5. Encourage the students to actually get to know each other on their team.  Some were working with students they had never met before.  During the reflection at the end, our Head of School asked “How many of you actually know the names of all of your team mates?”  The number of hands raised was disappointingly low…

Personally, I can’t wait to run this same game with other teachers/classes in my school and to maybe design my own!