Monday, March 21, 2016

BreakoutEDU in 2nd Grade

Back in December I heard (from a source I can't recall) about an activity called BreakoutEDU.  The context in which I heard about it was related to high school.  While it sounded cool, and the website looked interesting, it was something I decided not to invest in because I had a difficult time determining the usefulness for 2nd graders.

A few weeks ago I attended EdCampSV and one of the sessions I attended was about BreakoutEDU.  The session participants, in fact, had to solve a BreakoutEDU puzzle.  It was a lot of fun and being able to experience the activities firsthand made it easy for me to see how I could apply the idea to second grade.

In addition, when I returned to the BreakoutEDU website I discovered several games had been created and added specifically for younger students.

Last week my students completed a leprechaun BreakoutEDU from the website (I made a few minor modifications).  They completed the puzzles whole-class so I could guide them more easily through the process of having clues and objects related to several puzzles all available to sort through at the same time.  In general I wouldn't recommend having 24 students all do the same activity at the same time simply because that means that a few students are activitly participating at any given moment while most are waiting for their turn.  However, it was successful in that everyone had a turn or 2 or 3 at different points in the challenge and by the end of the activity everyone understood how a Breakout worked.  Plus, they successfully opened the box and found some candy!

Pictures show items arranged for easy photographing, but in reality the items were spread around and not grouped together as shown.

Today the students completed another BreakoutEDU challenge.  This challenge was basically The Swamp, found at BreakoutEDU, with a few modifications to relate to the book My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza instead, because I had read that to the class last week.

They completed the challenge in a center format with 6 students in a group and I gave them 20 minutes to open the 3 locks.  Three of the 4 groups were successful.

Despite comments I made directing them back to the clues (have you found anything that could help you with that, what do the clues say), many of the students preferred to use a "guess and check" strategy or random searching of the area instead of really thinking about the clues.  That's something I'll have to keep in mind in the future.  Since we were working in centers only a small part of the classroom was used the BreakoutEDU so this method was fairly successful.

I am excited to find time for our next BreakoutEDU activity and I'm very grateful for the creators and all the teachers who have posted ideas.