Tuesday 14 March 2017

Breakout EDU... What Is It??

Hey folks! I'm back again to share with you an AMAZING new activity I learned about this past year. Have you ever heard of Escape Rooms? You essentially get locked in a room and need to solve puzzles and riddles in order to escape the room in the time limit. There's usually a story to go with it like you are trying to escape death row or break into the bank. They are soooo much fun and are popping up all over the place! Love them!

Anywho, Breakout EDU takes the idea of an escape room and applies it to the classroom. Instead of escaping a room though, they need to "break into" a locked box. Basically there is a large box that is locked by a few different types of locks and they need to solve puzzles in order to open the different locks. These games are amazing for working on critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and communication. They can also be used with any grade level or subject area. There are puzzles already created for grades Pre-K to Adult level and in every subject area.

Check out the website by clicking here or the logo below. If you "Register for Access", you will get a password and access to TONS of ideas and games. Check it out!

Here's an introduction video of what Breakout EDU is all about:

To start with, you need a Breakout Kit. You can buy them from the site for $125US each. In the kit you will get the following: a large Breakout Box, a small Breakout Box, a hasp, hint cards and reflection cards, a 5-arrow directional lock, a 5-letter word lock, a UV marker and flashlight, a USB drive, a key and lock, a 3-digit lock, and a 4-digit lock. Click here or the picture below to check them out:

If you want to make your own kit, you can check out Walmart, Home Depot, Dollar Tree, Canadian Tire, and Amazon to find all of your Breakout kit needs! You basically need a large toolbox or other container that a lock or hasp can be put on and another smaller lockable box or pouch. Then you need a variety of different locks, a UV marker, and a blacklight flashlight,. If you click here or the images below, you can find the doc with links to Amazon to purchase these materials.

You can have one kit for the entire group (there are many different explanations on how to run a game with one kit, ie. the "ticket system") or a few kits to do your breakouts in small groups. I have four kits.

Here is a game that I designed and ran with some second and first grade classes. It was based on the book "The Mitten" by Jan Brett. Each Breakout starts with a story, so mine was the animals found Nikki's mitten and did not want to give it back, so they locked it up in a box. Nikki needs to break into the box and get the mitten before he has to get home to Baba.

I divided the class into four groups. So each group had a table with the large locked toolbox (the hasp allows for six locks to be used on one box--we only used four with this game), the small locked pouch, two hint cards (to give to me if they were really stuck), a code recording sheet (to write down the codes they figured out), and a lock parking lot to place the opened locks (to prevent locks from getting broken, reset, or mixed up). I colour-coded my four groups, but that's not necessary. I just like things to be colour-coded. lol

Around the room were other clues and puzzles for them to use and solve.

There was a timer for 45 minutes on the projector. You can find different timers on YouTube here. My favourite is the Breakout Timer with Suspenseful Music.

They had to find a key to get into the smaller pouch which had more clues and puzzle pieces to help them get into the big box.

They had to work together and really think critically to solve the problems.

When they got all the locks off the box, inside was the white mitten, Breakout stickers, and a sign. No prizes, no candy, no treats. Just the satisfaction of completing the puzzles and getting into the box. Actually the stickers were a big hit, but every group was super proud of their accomplishments.

And just like in the tradition of escape rooms, you get to take a group photo with some "We did it!" signs. (I do have signs for groups that don't breakout... but they're still positive and fun like "We almost broke out!" and "So close!") Even if groups don't succeed, they are still amazed by how much they accomplished and can't wait to do another one!

My cute, laminated, hot glued labels did not last a full-day with ones and twos, so I pulled out the Cricut and cut out some cute vinyl labels for my boxes. Love them!!

If you want to check out more about "The Mitten" Breakout, you can watch my set up video here and download all the documents here. I've submitted the game to be reviewed, so hopefully it makes it to the official site! Until then, go register and take a look at all the amazing games out there! I did the "Elf" Christmas game with my family over the holidays and then used the game "The Faculty Meeting" when I presented to staff in my division about Breakout EDU.

Also, if you want more resources or ideas join the Facebook groups: Breakout EDU (General Discussion) and Breakout EDU Elementary Teachers. Leave any questions you have in the comments or send me an email: firstgradegarden@gmail.com And please take a few seconds to answer the questions below:


  1. Thank you for sharing! I can't wait to try this with my class this week.

  2. Terrific! As a FACS teacher, I'm still trying to learn about this new hot trendy teaching method and how I can use it in different subjects that I teach. Thanks for posting all the product links and photos of your kids in action!!!

  3. Hi!
    So I want to do this with my grade 3s... I signed up but don't have access to the Elf game? Am I doing something wrong?
    Also- did you DIY your kit or did you buy the kit from Breakout EDU?

  4. Ok.. good news! Got onto the site... just had to verify my account!
    Still looking for tips re: breakout materials..

    1. Yay, glad you got access to the site! They've changed things around recently and I haven't had time to look through the new website design.

      I did not buy the kits through Breakout EDU. I bought them from various places. Toolboxes from Canadian Tire (Canadian hardware store) and various locks from Walmart, Home Depot, and Amazon! :)

  5. Wow! Thank you for sharing the game you created. I will try it with a class soon. You have inspired me to create my own game. :)

  6. Where did you get the Awesome teamwork, #crushed it, and We did it signs?

    1. I made them! Send me an email I can send them to you: firstgradegarden@gmail.com