Every time I would log onto Twitter I would see posts of excited students with signs that say, “We broke out”! I was curious as to what this was. I went on the BreakOut official website, BreakOutedu.com, and thought of it as a really fascinating mystery game. It wasn't until I went to the IACUE that I found out that it is much more than a mystery game. I immediately gathered the Dream Team, John Stevens, Paula Torres, and Venetia Ricchio and began brainstorming ideas for an activity involving parallel lines and transversals as well as transformations.
The following day, I challenged my students to “BreakOut”.
The day started off like any other. The students walked in and began to work on their warm-up. It was just like any other day, with one exception. I began calling students in groups of 12. The students huddled around me. I gave a slip of paper for each student. As I handed the students the slip of paper, I whispered….
“Somebody is watching and I need your help, when you finish the warm up, go to the link in the slip and help me escape. A portion of the website is missing and you need to complete the warm up to fill in the blank”.
I also told the students that everyone that was in the group was part of the team, and they had a letter, A, B or C, in the slip to remind them. The same process was repeated for the remainder of the class; there was a Chromebook available at each table.
Upon finding the correct combination for the bit.ly, the students were taken to a Google Form with even more clues. The group name was the students team letter and period. The students then went on to Clue # 1. The first clue had the students “help me seek safety” in one of three possible locations that are all corresponding to one another. The students quickly grasped the key word, corresponding, and identified all corresponding angle pairs, but failed to realize that I want 3 of them and that they have to correspond to one another. Finlay, I had a couple of groups that were able to closely look at the picture, identified the 3 angles that were corresponding and went on to clue #2.
Clue #2 completely changed the dynamic of the classroom. The first group to reach Clue #2 ran up to the window and found the hints behind a poster. I printed the maps, labeled each of the maps with either A, B or C to indicate team name, and laminated each of the sheets. As the first group began collected all of their maps, the rest of the groups walked, no ran towards the window, grabbed their clues sat down and immediately started working on this clue as the rest of the team finished the first clue. Clue #2 was intended to be a review of transformations. Upon completing the transformation, the teams are to be left with 4 arrows, which unlock the the arrow lock.
As for the clue that was underneath the student desks, I did not expect the students to know where “the land where chocolate dreams are made of”. Instead, I wanted them to look up places where they make chocolate and ultimately discover Hershey, PA. Because I work with the “Department of Alternate Interior Affairs”, I had maps hidden in plain sight (taped on the whiteboard) with lines going through various states. The students were then to identify the alternate interior angles by using the first letter of each state.
Despite the fact that I did not have any of my groups “BreakOut”, I had students collaborating with each other and using more academic vocabulary than ever before. I had students peer tutoring each other and asking each other questions. A very shy and reserved student diagnosed with Autism took on the leadership role for his group. An english language learner student who speaks very limited english and refuses to speak to anyone was using academic vocabulary to communicate with his group. My students did not get to the land where chocolate dreams are made of, but they did “BreakOut”.
Happy "Breakout" Fishing