Students Using Their Smarts to Breakout

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Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)

Digital breakout activities at Covington-Harper Elementary are engaging students in learning while encouraging teamwork. Sara Ross, instructional technology coach, learned about the activity while attending a technology conference. The resources are provided by a website,

“Each activity has a certain number of “locks” for the students to break that can range from text locks, number locks, color locks, and even directional locks. They have to solve each puzzle and enter the correct answer into the lock for it to break,” Ross said. “In a lot of cases, they might have the answer to the actual math problem, etc. but there is still some thinking involved in order to translate that to the answer to the lock.”

To complete the activity the student team has to break the locks before time runs out.

Third-grader Peter Adu said, “I thought it was fun because you had to think outside the box. It was also hard but that was the fun, making mistakes to figure it out.”

Fourth-grader Jack added, “I think that it will help students to be better group members and problem solvers. The breakout activity will train kids to think in different ways that they could need one day.”

The website allows teachers to create their own games or choose from digital subject packs, which include math, science, social studies, library/media literacy, and world languages. The site also provides the chance for teachers to review student responses after the activity.

“It really is a great way to have them use their skills and for teachers to see if they are understanding certain concepts or not,” Ross said. “We have seen lots of students who struggle academically really showing their skills off, which has been awesome.”

Ross has also purchased two kits that come with six physical boxes and locks. The site provides puzzles that can only be used with the physical boxes and locks, as well as some puzzles that are hybrid, meaning the online games and the physical box/locks are used in the activity.


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