- Brewster Central School District
CV Starr Students “Breakout” While Problem Solving with Classmates
“I loved it!”
“It was really, really fun.”
“I want to do it again!”
These were just a few of the reactions from enthusiastic CV Starr fifth graders who recently participated in a problem-solving challenge. Using kits from Breakout EDU, a company that designs immersive learning games, the students had to work together to decipher clues and solve hands-on puzzles.
Organized by CV Starr’s Library Media Specialist Paul George, the activity was made possible by a grant from the Brewster Education Foundation, which purchased the kits.
The kits are designed to bring the excitement and challenges of an escape room into the classroom.
“It was a great activity that fostered collaboration, critical thinking, and perseverance,” said George. “Students worked collaboratively to solve puzzles using clues in order to open locks and ultimately break out.”
According to the fifth graders, the best part of the challenge was that they got to work together with little-to-no interference or support from teachers. Donna Schneider, Brewster High School’s Instructional Technology Specialist, helped George run the session but they let the students figure things out on their own.
“We had some freedom,” one student said. “I really liked trying to solve it. We had to use teamwork to open the locks and we all took turns.”
The activities were not simple.
“For one of the activities, the students had to look at a picture with a bunch of cupids and figure out that there were six of one kind, six of a different kind and four of another,” George explained. “Then, they had to figure out the order of the digits to open a three-digit lock. Once they opened that piece, there was a valentine inside. They had to figure out that one letter on each valentine was underlined and then put the letters in order to spell a word to open the word lock.”
Still, students were up for the challenge.
“Everyone made suggestions and then we tried every single one until we eventually found the answer,” one student said. “We got it wrong many times — and then you have to go back to the beginning and find out where you made the mistake.”
Students had a great time while simultaneously working on the district’s Strategic Coherence Plan’s essential skills of collaboration, critical thinking and perseverance. Building on the success of this challenge, George plans to do another Breakout EDU later this month.