As teachers, we’re always looking for ways to get our students engaged in our lessons. Hands-on activities that allow them to collaborate and problem solve are the best! Unlock the Box Mysteries are the perfect way to cover important content and keep your students engaged. Keep reading to find out how they work.
Unlock the Box Mysteries
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My students love doing Breakout Boxes. They enjoy working together to find and solve clues. However. the materials for Breakout Boxes are expensive. My school has a few boxes and locks in the tech classroom. However, I got tired of planning my lessons around when they were available. I also hated to bother the tech coach to borrow them all the time.
That’s why I decided to come up with a way to do a similar activity without the expensive equipment. That’s when I started using Unlock the Box Mysteries.
The part I hated most about the Breakout Boxes was programming all the locks. However, I did like that the kids had to unlock a box to be able to get a treat. I wanted to keep that part without five different locks.
Here are the supplies you will need for Unlock the Box Mysteries:
- A box with two holes – I found some toolboxes that work perfectly at the Dollar Tree.
- A 4-digit number lock
- Manila envelopes
Here are the steps to set up your Unlock the Box Mystery:
- Print the materials for the Unlock the Box Mystery.
- Look at the last clue, and set the number lock to match the correct answer.
- Put a surprise inside the box. I’ve used pencils, erasers, and lollipops. I change it every time so my students don’t know what’s inside when they start.
- Lock the box, and put it in a place where your students will see it when they enter the room.
- Decide how many teams of students you will have. Print that many of each clue. Put the clues in manila envelopes.
- Decide how students will create their groups. I like to tape strips of paper to the bottom of their desks before they enter the room. They have to use the paper to find their teammates. For example, in my Division Mystery, the students have to solve the division problem on their paper and find the other students who have the same quotient to form their group.
- Give the students their first clue, and watch as they work together to solve the mystery.
- When students think they have the answer to a clue, they will come and show you. If the answer is correct, give them them next clue.
- The first team to solve all the clues should try to open the box. If they are successful, they can each take a surprise. Then, I lock the box again and have the other groups finish solving the mystery.
Set a timer so students know how much time they have to unlock the box. I love the timer on Class Dojo. Setting a time limit really helps to add a sense of urgency to solving the mystery. I usually give my class 45 minutes.
If a group is really stuck on a clue and can’t figure it out, they can choose to get a hint. I give them a little bit of help to figure out the clue, but they are frozen for 2 minutes and can’t work at all during that time.
Get Started with Unlock the Box Mysteries
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Watch this video to see just how easy it is to set up an Unlock the Box Mystery.
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What Do You Think?
What concepts would you use Unlock the Box Mysteries to teach?
Let me know in the comments below.
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