Here are a few of my favorite … clues!

Last week, I was crunching out some copies in the faculty workroom when Michael Matera (yeah, I get to hang with him in at out of school – pretty awesome).  He asked if I had ever posted my preferred ideas and platforms for original BreakoutEDU / Quest / scavenger hunt clues, and I responded with a “not yet”.  Thanks for the inspiration, Mikey (I have said that many times in the past) – here are a few of my faves!

Timelines are usable for social studies geeks, right?  Have students determine the years of a series of events and put them in order. They can add one color and subtract the other to get a numerical clue, or have each event in one of four colors and use colors on a directional lock. It’s a great way to preview or review some of essential events – plus, it makes kids use their quick Google skills! Here’s a basic example – easy and effective!

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The old children’s dot to dot puzzle can become very versatile when you us use it as a clue!  Create your own dot to dot puzzle at by uploading an image.  Think of the social studies possibilities – the outline of a famous landmark, geographic borders, a picture of something hidden in your room .. you name it! Pre-made ones can be purchased, like Extreme Dot to Dot US History – wow!

Text mazes are awesome ways to hide instructions for finding aclocation, clue, or code.  They serve as effective roadblocks and are also great for larger scavenger hunts.  How easy are they to make?  Thanks to Festisite, it’s a matter of typing in your text and clicking “download”! Here’s one I recently used …

The first time I saw Snotes in use, I grinned from ear to ear.  It is a super simple web based code maker that can be used bit digitally and in print.  All you need to to do is type in your words, choose some colors and a background theme, and let your code breakers go from there! Here’s a Snotes message to you!

I love using Match the Memory.  It’s like the old game of concentration, but you can create your own matching pairs and infuse content as part of your clues.  Once students have matched them all, a message appears for the next clue.  Easy peasy! I have used it for the Roaring 20s – content and fun!

I almost lost my mind when I saw Mystery Piano used in a Breakout.  It is about as cool of clue as I can think of – you program a tune inthe platform, save and share it, and create a clue for the music.  You don’t have to be super musically inclined.  I thought of my tune and searched for the notes – it took about a minute! Click my alter ego below for an example.indiana_jones.0

Remember “Salvation lies within” in The Shawshank Redemption (in of my five fave movies of all time)? The hiding space in the Bible was an awesome gotcha in the movie – and a perfect place for a BreakoutEDU clue! Obviously, you can use a book for a clue about numbers or letters, but you can also conceal a physical object – a flashlight, laser pointer, film canister, invisible ink pens … you name it!

Fake receipts are awesome to use as clues.  A few receipts scattered around a room can lead to numerical or word clues.  They are simple to make using a few different platforms, including Express Expense and FakeReceipt – but don’t use these to fudge an expense report!

Integrating some augmented reality is also one of my favorite Breakout tools.  WallaMe allows you to hide numbers, letter, words, and images on your own walls in your classroom.  Aurasma lets you take the AR a step further (with a few more wrinkles) by allowing audio, video, and links to appear over an image.  The sight of kids when the see the AR work is well worth the effort – and it makes for a great clue!

I’ve been to a few Escape Rooms in the Milwaukee area, and I love grabbing ideas from those awesome  experiences.  So far, I have incorporated physical jigsaw pieces with a message and a laser pointer that bounces off a mirror and points to a number – very cool.  I am still looking for a way to use a clue frozen in a ice cube and a mini-drone – but I’m working on it!

It’s a starting list – there are so many more! I’ll try to add some in a future post. As most of you know, many digital tools are available on the old BreakoutEDU “Build Your Own” site.  Do you have any other awesome ideas?  Please comment, tweet them, share them on the awesome BreakoutEDu facebook groups, and most most importantly … keep challenging and engaging your kids with awesome Breakouts!


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