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Aguilar Class Develops Problem-Solving Skills with Breakout Lockboxes

Post Date:12/13/2017

AguilarLockbox2_400x244Heather Smalley’s second grade class at Aguilar Elementary was recently assigned a unique holiday-themed assignment, breakout lockboxes.

The idea is fairly simple, a literal toolbox that has a series of locks and other challenges that the students need to work together in their groups to figure out in order to get the prizes that are inside.

Some locks had numbers that required the students to solve a math problem to find the combination while others had letters where the students had to solve a riddle to unlock it.

In addition to the locks, Smalley’s students needed to use a blacklight to detect a secret message written on their “clue” to fully understand it and put pieces of an actual puzzle together to complete the mental obstacle course and receive their prize –– a handful of fun holiday goodies that the students were racing with excitement to get!

AguilarLockbox1_400x244Smalley found out about the idea a few years ago with Aguilar staff as they participated in a team building activity. Smalley tried it out in her classroom last year and was excited to continue it again this year.

“It’s a great activity especially for all of the problem-solving that is involved,” mentioned Smalley. “This is an English Language Learners class so an assignment like this that encourages them to work through a lot of the problems with conversation is perfect!”

In addition to the problem-solving skills that the kids were working on, they were also having a lot of fun.

“Being able to do all of the puzzles was really fun to me,” said Jasmine Uriarte, a student in Smalley’s class. “My favorite part was working with the numbers because it had to do with money and that’s what we’re learning about right now in class!”

Great job Ms. Smalley for challenging your students in new and innovative ways!

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