The latest thing in education technology is a wooden box, reports Greg Toppo in USA Today. Breakout EDU has reversed the “escape room,” in which “a group of people use their wits to break out of a locked room.” Teams of students work together to figure out how to get into an elaborately locked box.
Breakout EDU builds the wooden boxes by hand and sells them online, along with an assortment of hasps, locks, invisible-ink pens and guidelines. Teachers build lessons around students’ nearly insatiable need to get into that @#$% box.
The wooden models go for $119 plus shipping; a plastic model costs $89. The company doesn’t object if teachers build their own kits using accessories from the local hardware store.
Co-founder James Sanders got the idea after visiting an escape room with a group of high school students, he told Education Week. “I’d never seen high school students work that hard in my life,” he told Education Week last year.
Teachers have developed hundreds of games based on the boxes: More than 200 are available for free on the Breakout site.
In To Save the Emperor, set in ancient Rome, students must follow clues to unravel a plot against the emperor. Other games include Weather Wizard, Unlocking Shakespeare, Pythagora’s Last Theorem and more.