Happy fall everyone! I’m back for a little fall fun! 🙂
I know y’all have seen breakout activities and escape rooms! They are the perfect way to engage students in activities that support critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, teamwork and meaningful discussion. Students work in groups to solve puzzles & riddles, answer questions, and think critically about activities. These puzzles and activities then lead them to their final destination! No reward or treat necessary, just the satisfaction of completing the activity!
With all of that in mind, this year we wanted to create an activity that we could do on Halloween in place of our typical “Fall Party” full of games, snacks, movies, etc. We have our fair share of parties, so why not make this party more meaningful, engaging and academic?!
We came up with a Fall Mystery Breakout Activity that is complete with 6 different activities that need to be solved in order to get enough clues to find out the culprit in the “Case of the Smashed Pumpkins”! This is an easy set up activity that could be done in just one classroom or multiple classrooms. We put all three of our classes together and split our students up into their 4 houses so we could track their teamwork and positive leadership within their houses!
Materials Needed – grab them all from Amazon! (affiliate links)
- Black Light Flashlight – found here
- Black Light Markers – found here
- Locks – found here
- Lock box (optional, could just use any box/shoebox you have) – found here
How we set it up:
- First, we decided we wanted our culprits to be the PE teachers. Therefore, we had to figure out what the final clue was going to say to lead them to the gym to find the PE teachers with the smashed pumpkins. We decided all of the letters would unscramble to spell out: “Find the clue where you run at school”.
- We set up each of the six activities into 6 different manilla folders. In each folder were the directions to solve the letter clue and any materials needed to solve it.
- Then, we set the locks on the lock boxes for 3 of the activities and hid the other three clues where the messages lead them.
How it went!
- We gathered all of our students together and read a newspaper article talking about the smashed pumpkins at our elementary school! This grabbed the students excitement and had them wondering if this was actually real or not! 😉
- We split our students up into 4 different groups and separated into 4 different spaces.
- Each group solved all 6 activities to find their letter clues.
- We came back together as a whole group to unscramble the letters. Students shared their ideas about who it might be or what the sentence might say and we eliminated suspects as we went!
- The students finally realized that we needed to go to the gym based on the letter clues!
- We all went to the gym and found pumpkin seeds leading to the back door of the gym where we FOUND the smashed pumpkins! The PE teacher was also wearing gloves containing pumpkin seeds, which was also a giveaway!
When the students finally solved the mystery, we told our principal that we found the culprits and then got a special snack for all of our students hard work! Although it is a lot to set up, and everything did not go perfectly as planned, it was a great learning experience for our students and they enjoyed working together to solve a mystery at our school!
If you want to create this experience for your students, you can grab this in my TPT store here!
Have you done any escape/break out activities in your classroom? If so, how did they go, any tips for our next one and what were your favorite successes?! Let me know in the comments below!