"How many of you have ever heard of a breakout room?" asks teacher Jill Dardeen as she begins a workshop at Wainwright Middle School's Think Big student technology summit. "This is where you and a group of people are locked in a room and you have to find and solve clues in order to get out. Today we are doing something similar. We are trying to break into a box."
Dardeen gives students 30 minutes to solve math problems that lead them to clues hidden around the room. The clues contain the combination needed to crack the code and open the box.
"I loved solving the clues," says Josh Rivas. "We had to all work together to get the answers."
Because they needed to work as a team, students learned quickly to talk quietly and cooperate with each other. "Teamwork is essential," says Dardeen. "Teams that finished the fastest were the teams that would work together instead of dividing up the clues."
"It took us about 10 minutes to get into the box," says student Charlie Turner. "The seventh- and eighth-grade students took control at first, until the sixth graders found more clues. Then we helped with solving the clues."
The technology summit also provided students with an opportunity to learn more about their Chromebook laptops and software programs that they use throughout the year. All the sessions at the summit encouraged students to think big and dream about the challenges that technology can help them conquer.