Jennie Allison – Guest Contributor
Apr 29 2019
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Learners collaborating as they crack one of the codes.

The Victory Place @ Coppell (VP@C) learners hosted an “escape room experience” for the Denton Creek Elementary fourth graders on April 23, 2019. This was the culminating event of the VP@C Computational Thinking Understanding by Design (UbD) Unit. This UbD required learners to work in teams and use critical thinking skills and backwards design to create an escape room within the classroom.


We kicked off the UbD on April 1, 2019 with an educator-designed escape room experience for the VP@C learners.  Next, learners divided into teams and decided on the group norms that they would commit to throughout the design process. We chose the theme of time travel, and learners developed a storyline based on their time machine breaking down, leaving learners stranded in the past, present and future.


Each team incorporated “plugged” and “unplugged” elements into their design. For the “plugged” element, learners participated in a digital playground where they had the chance to explore the district’s digital toys. With the support of our digital learning coaches, Kelly Skillingberg and Monica Champagne, learners incorporated the Probot, Ozobot, Ollie, Code-a-pillar and Dash and Dot into their problem-solving pathways.


For the “unplugged” elements, learners were able to use supplies purchased with a Coppell Education Foundation grant. The grant money was used to purchase various locks, boxes, UV flashlights and diversion safes. These supplies provided a variety of options allowing teams to be more creative in their designs. Over the course of two weeks, VP@C learners used their “Genius Hour”  to design and build the escape experiences.


Finally, the day arrived for the Denton Creek learners to join us. Since Victory Place @ Coppell and Denton Creek Elementary are both Great Expectations schools, we discussed which Life Principles the learners would need to utilize prior to the experience. Curiosity, cooperation, patience and problem-solving were determined to be crucial to success. After 45 minutes all teams had escaped!  We came back together to reflect on the experience. When asked, most Trailblazers credited the Life Principle of perseverance as a key to their success.


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