Breaking into the wooden box with five locks at BreakoutEDU Australia’s launch

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This past Friday, Intervirals attended the launch of BreakoutEDU Australia which was hosted at Google Australia’s headquarters. Arrived at Google’s reception just in time for the start of the talk presented by Nick and Kim from the EdTechTeam. The room was mostly filled up with teachers and at least five participants in the crowd who had played an escape room before.

A wooden box stamped with the BreakoutEDU logo sat on a chair in front of the crowd with five locks attached to it. There were a couple of number locks, a word lock and a directional lock. The game played was called Time Warp, with the purpose of informing participants about the history of communication. Only 45 minutes were given to the group to “break into” the box and once the countdown timer started, everyone started to look around the room for clues.

About five minutes into the game, several clues were found so had to steer the group slightly to put them down on the stage so everyone could have a chance to see what was found. The first two locks were easily unlocked and then we all fell into a red herring that many participants got stuck on. The lovely BreakoutEDU AU team gave us pointers in the right direction.

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The red herring contained a clue to solve the last puzzle which was related to a maths problem that turned out to have two possible answers. Eventually the right combination was found and all the locks were removed from the box and inside was … a black pen. 😀 It was great fun with a significant mention going towards Scott and his friend from the Escape Rooms in Sydney blog, plus The Engima Room Sydney staff and around two to three educators who helped the group get pass the last puzzle.

Some thoughts and suggestions –
At random times throughout the game, I glanced at some of the other participants who were sitting down on chairs instead of actively participating. There should be enough puzzles for everyone to have a focus on and also work at during all stages in the game.

The maximum amount of people in an escape room tops out around ten to twelve people (SCRAP, Escape Room LA, Trapped in a Room with a Zombie are some examples). Plus in these places, there is also a room/s that participants can spread out and explore with puzzles located in different areas around the room.

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With a BreakoutEDU box, you will always have to come back to that one box with the locks on it (unless there were multiple boxes spread out in a room). Perhaps five students per box at a maximum and to scale up to a full classroom room of say thirty students, have around six BreakoutEDU boxes.

With clues placed around a room, perhaps have multiple copies of it or actually I would advocate giving students all puzzle pieces and the BreakoutEDU box at the start – it can easily get frustrating if a puzzle can’t be solved because a clue was hidden away in corner somewhere.

Finally also got the opportunity to ask the BreakoutEDU Australia team if they were going to host a local event site in Australia as part of the BreakoutEDU Game Jam that’s happening in January next year. The team is considering it – so fingers crossed.

A huge thank you to the BreakoutEDU Australia team (Nick, Kim and Chris) for hosting the event and looking forward to seeing what they do next!

BreakoutEDU Australia: https://twitter.com/breakoutEDUau

Essa 🙂

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