Many following me on my social networks know that I use Perler Beaads a lot from the classroom to personal use. Something that is very popular with Perler Beads is Super Mario Brothers power up Mushrooms. There have been so many interpretations of the power up. These have ranged from designing them around pop culture to iconic characters. The last couple of weeks that I have been introducing Breakout Edu to my teachers and students. I have looked for aways to put a new spin on the game and differentiate the activity. I was on my Perler Bead Facebook group and one person had created an amazing camo mushroom and x-ray version and then my son was talking about Cookie Monster.
Well it hit me like an old family recipe thanks to something I recently read in Classroom Chef (order a copy). About the Cookie Monster activity where Cookie Monster eats a set of cookies and you have to estimate how many he probably ate. I thought about how I could use that idea along with Breakout Edu. So, I gave a new option with my hint tokens. The idea behind it is that if you pick the Cookie Monster Power up Mushroom. The teacher will unlock one of the locks off of the box. The catch is, in doing so, Cookie eats all the other hints and you no longer have the option of getting a hint. Further more, by undoing on of the locks, two things can happen:
- It also eliminates the possible clue that solving that lock might have.
- If this is a competition between classrooms, it will also knock off 10 points in the final score for your classroom.
Believe it or not, it really made my students work harder at solving the clues to open the box in Breakout Edu. What was even better is that one class used no hints and solved all, but one of the locks and then used Cookie to open the final one they were having the worst time trying to figure out. This was a great way to not only teach my students strategy, but also motivated them to try harder at solving the Breakout Edu in the allowed time. I’m planning on a few more power ups in the future. Including the Blaze power up that will let a classroom get two free locks, but also cut their time in half. So, if they are stuck on multiple locks, the Blaze Power Up will get them farther along, but if they say have 18 minutes left, it will then turn the timer to 9 minutes instead. Even more, the next Breakout Edu they have to do it in 22.5 minutes since the Blaze Power Up carries over to the next game. Also the Freezer Power UP that will stall the clock for a minute but will also take away one hint card in the process and will also freeze their points in a classroom competition until the next round (they can’t get more points).
This is a classic use of Magic the Gathering or Yu-gi-oh where a card can both help and harm the player in the process. Its a great way to motivate students to work smarter and not harder for their achievements. Give it a try today.