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Who Can Crack the Code?

Students Kick Off Their Science Coding Unit

Recently, GDS 4th graders had a chance to try out a Breakout EDU learning games platform that turned their classroom into an academically-focused escape room. Players used teamwork and critical thinking to solve a series of challenging puzzles in order to open a locked box. The “Crack the Code” game the 4th graders embarked upon kicked off their science coding unit. Below is a collaborative post written by a few of our 4th grade students explaining, in their words, their experience with Breakout EDU.

To kick off the start of the 4th grade science coding unit, 4th graders tried to take on possibly the hardest challenge they ever had to tackle. What did we do in this coding unit you might ask?

There was a big box with six distinct locks on it. Each lock had a unique combination. To unlock the mysterious case, we had to complete the challenges, and there was a prize that was waiting for us inside if we cracked the code. We were all wondering what could it be. Here’s how it was done.

Somewhere in the classroom a key for one of the locks was hidden. Many of the challenges we had were a set of numbers or letters that had to do with computer programming or “unplugged coding” activities. We had to figure them out and get the combinations to unlock a specific lock. Each group was given two hint cards to use for asking a teacher questions when teams got really stuck. Everyone of the little locks was a puzzle itself. And you had to find letters, numbers, or direction symbols on some of the challenges for the combinations to the locks.

“Towards the end of our bold experience, we all learned a valuable lesson: have confidence in yourself, even at your worst,” said 4th grade student Tatum Mach.

“Sometimes it is hard to find out the code, but no matter what, we were always trying our best and having fun! This project taught me about never giving up,” Esmé Mazo said. “Only two people in Jay’s class opened the box. We were all really sad when we were done with it. We hope that we can do it again someday.”

“I think I learned a very important lesson. My partner and I lost our hint cards, which would have allowed us to get some help if we were stuck—and we still got to the end. So that shows we should all be strong even if you’re having a tough time. We also noticed that one of the blocks on one of the puzzles was missing, which could have given other people a tough time,” Sophie Gresens said.

“We didn’t get all the way through. It was fun and that was all that mattered to me,” said Lina Colla.

“My partner and I got stuck on a color coding section, and we didn’t get to finish, but we both had all of our answers,” Zuri Jones shared.

“It was very difficult. Though we only unlocked one lock, we still had fun with it. This project teaches about perseverance,” said Lauren Piper.

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