You Can Too, Create Breakout EDU
Over the last few years, escape rooms have become a huge craze. The themes are engaging and often immerse participants in a fantasy situation. You may find yourself in space, a western, a pyramid, a zombie apocalypse, lost in time, or even solving a Sherlock Holmes murder mystery. You must communicate, work as a team, think out of the box, work under pressure, and never give up in order to breakout of the room.
Breakout EDU saw an opportunity to bring this concept into the classroom. All of the skills that are required for an escape room are important skills for our students to learn. If you add a curriculum connection on top of that, you have a bulls-eye with educators. Breakout EDU created boxes with many different types of locks and a platform where people can create games and share them with others. Unfortunately, there is not always enough money in education to purchase the tools that we want for classrooms. This has led schools and educators to begin making their own breakout boxes and games.
Creating your own box is quite simple. You need a box or multiple boxes that you can put locks on. I searched for “box with lock hole” on Amazon and came up with tons of options that are reasonably priced. You can use whatever locks you that you wish but some common locks are, word, 3 or 4 digit, directional, and key locks. It is also popular to use black lights and invisible ink as well as Google Forms for digital clues. A hasp is needed to put multiple locks on one box. For a list of some supply recommendations from Amazon, click HERE.
Before creating your own game, I would definitely suggest reading through a few that have already been created so you can get an idea of clue types, flow, setup, etc… You can view some examples HERE. Once you have an idea of how these games work, you want to have some type of a template. I created one that is very simple HERE. It starts with the purpose of the game. Are you creating the game as an introduction, review, team building or just for fun? Once you determine that, you will need to decide what standards or topics you want to cover. It’s important to list any theme you may have here as well.
At this point, I start developing clues. Pick a lock type and think of the types of clues you can give to get you to an answer that will work with that lock. This is the part of the process that you really have to use your brain for. I like to work with a team of people to develop the clues so I don’t have to brainstorm all on my own. On the template, you would put the answer to the clue and all of the instructions to solve that clue under the word lock bullet. You also need to put the setup directions under setup on the template. You want to assume that anyone reading the setup has no idea what to do with the resources. You do not have to create a clue for every lock. In fact, for your first game with your class, I would keep it small with 2 or 3 locks.
After thinking of the clues, you will need to actually create them. I like to do this in a Google Slides presentation because you can move text and images around freely. Each slide can be a new clue. This helps when printing because you won’t have to print 10 different documents, you just print the one slides presentation.
Now your game is created. You may want to use multiple boxes in your classroom so that students are working in smaller groups. I use colored dots to help with this. I put the same colored dots on all the materials for one box. This ensures that students know what clues go with their box and it helps me to separate the materials to reuse from year to year.
I know it sounds like a lot but the more games you create, the more creative you will get and the easier the process will become.