By Lynne Herr
Why Use The One-Box Method Over Multiple Boxes for your Classroom
First: It’s less locks and equipment for you to manage and reset between class periods.
Second: It costs less.
Third: The ticket system forces students to communicate about their work to develop answers for which the whole team is confident.
Fourth: It prevents students from hanging around the box fiddling with the locks trying to hack them. The focus is on the clues and solving them collaboratively.
Procedure for using the Ticket System to Run Breakout EDU with One Box for Your Class: (Note this example is for the game Time Warp, which uses two 4-digit locks.)
- Divide your class into teams of 5-8 students. For most classrooms, that means 3-4 teams per class period.
- Assign each team a color: Blue, Red, Green, Yellow
- Print a set of game clues for each team and color code them with a marker, or colored sticker tied to the team color. (NOTE: If the game uses the UV light, you can buy additional lights so each team can take their light at the appropriate time they discover it in the game, or they can use the light when they find it then return it to the original place where it was found. My preference is to have one color-coded flashlight per team inside one 3-digit lock box. When they figure out the code to the lock box, they remove their team’s marked flashlight and set the box to 000. I keep the box on the table with me next to the Breakout EDU box.)
- Place each set of color coded clues (I used the symbol you see in the photo just for visual interest) in its own area of the classroom to give space between groups. Any game pieces that must be shared by all teams should remain at the front of the room with the box. (I learned from Kim Alvarado that hiding clues can waste precious class time so consider the needs of your group as you decide whether or not you need to hide clues.)
- Give each team a set of tickets and a combination recordign sheet that match their team color. I’ve found that it works well to give the team 1-2 more tickets than the number of locks you have in the game.
- Create a lock tally sheet with columns organized by team color (Mine is shown here and included below). This sheet will be kept at the box station under teacher supervision.
- Use a phone or ipad timer at the box station to set to 1 minute. Each colored ticket for a team is redeemable for one minute at the box to try to open any locks they want to try.
TIP: To avoid confusion, take the ticket and put it next to the box while the team member attempts the locks during their minute, then set it aside for a future game. When the next student comes up, do the same. It will help you keep correct lock opening records as it’s easy to get distracted during the flurry of activity in the game. For example, you’ll glance down, see the green ticket, and remember to make the opened lock in the green column.
- Use a second phone or ipad to launch the game countdown timer.
- Only one person per team may redeem a ticket and attempt the locks. However, each ticket may be redeemed by a different person on the team.
- Only one student may be at the box at a time. The next person in line to try the locks waits a designated distance from the box (perhaps marked with tape on the floor).
- When a team opens a lock, the teacher marks it in the correct column on the tally sheet and rolls the numbers on the lock to the original starting point (it works well for me to have the lock “show” all zeros for number locks or a standard word such as “SPELL” for letter locks). NOTE: you are not resetting the lock combination, just putting the numbers at a common starting point to make each student’s time with the locks most efficient and consistent from team to team.
- Based on the tally sheet, the last team to open a lock hands it to the teacher to put into the storage box.
- The first team to solve all locks records their time.
- All teams compete for time. I compare it to heats in a track meet.
- The last lock to be removed opens the box for the whole class. If the last team doesn’t open the box in the designated time (suggested 2 min prior to class time ending) the teacher removes the remaining locks for the successful teams to see what’s inside - typically the we broke out or epic fail posters.
- Each team should have the opportunity to earn additional tickets if they are needed to stay in the game. This can be through team challenges (sing the Hokey Pokey through at least 3 body parts) or additional work directly related to the game’s content such as an additional math or language arts challenge problem to be completed in 2 min or less.
The teacher (box monitor) uses one colored Master Chart per class period to track team progress
Each student team gets one sheet to track their possible solutions.
Word lock (5 letters)
Directional Lock - app
Word lock (5 letters)