Your challenge, should you choose to accept it: find clues and break out before time runs out!

Escape chambers are a popular activity, and now students and staff at Prairieview School are able to participate in the classroom! 8th grade English and Advanced English teacher Becky Vandermark received a grant from the Waukee Community Schools Foundation to purchase Breakout Boxes.

The Boxes are essentially the same idea as escape chambers. Each kit contains a unique set of boxes, resettable locks, and access to a digital platform with over 1,500 games. Players must use critical thinking skills in order to “break out.”

To get things started, Vandermark created an experience for Prairieview teachers. Half played with physical boxes and the other half had iPads on the digital platform. They got to experience all the different content areas: math, science, social studies, etc., and see how the Boxes worked. They are now a big hit with both staff and students!

Vandermark said she uses the Breakout Boxes for end-of-unit reviews and extension activities. “The kids love the breakout the boxes and ask for them ALL THE TIME!”

Prairieview Mathematics Teacher Madeline Gage also used the Breakout Boxes for her 8th-grade math students. She said, “It’s always interesting to see who stands out as a leader during this group work and how groups hone in on each other’s strengths. Inevitably, there are groups who struggle with communication and collaboration which leads to frustration, but these struggles provide a great reflection and learning opportunity to improve for next time.”

Vandermark and Gage said Breakout Boxes are a fun, interactive way to engage all learners in reviewing important ideas or standards. They require the four C’s: critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication. “They are skills that we want our students to transfer from their education into their lives and Breakout Boxes provide an innovative way to achieve this,” said Gage.

Thank you to our sponsors and donors for providing this fun learning opportunity for waukee students!