The Benefits of Breakout Education

Hey Coach, 

I’ve heard so much about breakout education, but I have never used a breakout game in the classroom. How can they benefit my students?

Inquiring Mind

Dear Inquiring Mind,

It’s so awesome to hear that you are interested in breakout education! This is one of my favorite classroom strategies and is loved by students of all ages!

First, a little background information for those who are not yet familiar with breakout games in the classroom: Breakout games require students to work together to solve a series of clues and challenges before a time limit expires. These games can be played with physical containers that must be unlocked (available for purchase from BreakoutEDU), or they can be digital breakouts that are played on any device that connects to the Internet (Check out some ready-made digital breakouts on Tom’s Digital Breakouts or in the BreakoutEDU Digital Sandbox… or, create your own!)

In Gamification in Education: What How, Why Bother? (Lee & Hammer, 2011), we learn that gamification supports student motivation and engagement by providing learners with specific, moderately difficult, immediate goals to attain. Breakout games also help students develop collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity:
  • Collaboration: To successfully complete a game, students must collaborate and work together. Actually, that’s my first rule - “Work Together”. I refer to this rule several times throughout the game and it reminds students to focus their efforts on the task at hand.
  • Communication: Successful collaboration requires students to communicate effectively with each other as they make decisions.
  • Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is embedded throughout the game, as it is the cornerstone of its purpose. In order to solve clues, students must not only have a deep understanding of content, but they must also read for understanding, think deeply, analyze, and make connections.
  • Creativity: Breakout education also requires creativity as students think outside of the box and solve problems in new ways.
For more detailed information on how breakout education supports social emotional learning and the 4Cs, take a look at this infographic from BreakoutEDU.

Throughout my time facilitating breakout games in classrooms, I have seen a lot! I’ve watched students step out of their shell and become leaders. I’ve seen students who may be considered “low performing” become the saving grace for a team. Most importantly, I have seen students enjoy learning and beg for more!

Why Breakout education? Breakout education fosters invaluable real-world skills! It allows teachers to see what students really know and helps them identify and address misconceptions. Breakout education also puts students in the forefront of their learning and allows teachers to become an observer and facilitator. But hey, if for no other reason, breakout education is FUN!

Best wishes,

Contributing Coach Jamila Colbert


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