Digital Breakout: Engaging Students as they Make Sense of Problems and Persevere in Solving Them


♪[theme music] OK, so today’s goal is to break out with a
code. So if you notice over on the side of the room we have lock boxes. So this is
what your final code. Your going to test it on the lock. Um, and as you can see all
contributors are going to be rewarded today. So um, your contribution…you’re going
to show it here. So this is a table group activity. You’re going to work as a team.
So as a team…. My name is Christina Barthel. I teach 8th
grade math at Serrano Middle School and I’m currently finishing up
solving multi-step linear equations. There will be a code that unlocks each one
that will take you to the next puzzle. And again, at the end you’re going
to get that four digit code. Um, once your table has that and you show
me your contribution, you’ll come over and grab a lock box. A digital breakout is where students are using
a Google form or sometimes a Google site and they’re going through multiple
activities. Usually they involve some sort of puzzle that the students have to solve in
order to move on into the next segment of the activity. So the digital breakout acti-activity that Ms.
Barthel have-had us do was that we had to solve a bunch of equations and problems and
we would find out the code in the end. Like we would get the answers and then we
would either like have to add them up together or organize them. It’s important to be uh creative with the
practices that I’m giving students because at times they get tired and um…will
get somewhat lazy with doing the work. So I try to come up with creative ways for
them to practice that’s going to motivate them to do the problems. So for the first one did you
guys get 7 or negative 7? 7
Positive 7 I got negative 7. Hmmm. Most intriguing. Since they were dividing the problems up
in their table groups I thought that this activity was perfect for them to um use
error analysis on each other papers. Yeah because there-there isn’t somewhere
where it could become negative 7. 2 X… It’s negative 2X because
plus a positive. Oh okay, yeah. Thank you. The last step is for them
to um unlock the lock box. So uh students would get a code and
there’s a notification on the Google form that’s telling them that yes, they’ve
successfully completed the breakout um and to get a lock box and
unlock that for their reward. So I actually just bought
these lock boxes on Amazon. And as well as the locks, the locks
are actually just suitcase locks. I think that this adds the motivation to
the activity because students aren’t sure what’s in the box.
It’s a secret. So they’re very excited and curious um about
what they’ll get once they unlock the code. I’m just so excited because we
finished guys. I’m proud of us. That was fun.
Oh my God. I feel so… fancy. Usually I fill the boxes with um just little
things. I try not to make it too expensive. So pencils, they can
always use a pencil. Erasers. Uh, usually some candy. They usually like that and um… Then I usually add in some passes.
So some I Excel Passes. Um where they can use that pass if
they haven’t successfully completed a homework assignment. In the box there was a Front of the Line
Pass. There was also an I Excel Pass, and candy, and a pencil. I feel that students are more
interested in getting to the reward, it’s not really what it is. So they don’t
really care what’s inside the box. I think that they would be excited with
anything you’d put in the box. Uh, my table group didn’t get to unlock the
box. We were trying hard but we weren’t able to finish the…uh the fourth box.
It was-we were getting confused with the um numbers and we
couldn’t get the correct answer. The hardest part for me I think it was
working together because I’m more of an independent person so I think
it was working together. If we had worked together more then we
probably would have unlocked the box. So this activity is real life. Uh, not
all students get to unlock the box. Um I try to make it…and you
know I try to give enough time to where as many students as possible can
have the opportunity to unlock the box but at a certain point we finish the activity
and um if they haven’t gotten there, then they haven’t gotten there. I do allow students to come in at a later
date to unlock the box if they continue um to work through the activity on their
own. And I think that motivates them because they want to get
the practice done. ♪[theme music]

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