Powers Ferry 5th Graders Escape!

When racing against the clock, can students perform successfully and escape the classroom?

While competing against the clock, Powers Ferry students worked together in teams to try and successfully escape the classroom. Through ongoing communication and teamwork with group members, students explained and showcased their knowledge on adding and subtracting fractions.

Fifth grade students at Powers Ferry Elementary were engaged in a team experience to successfully escape the classroom. When put in a scenario, one never knows how one will perform. Students in Mr. Tromp and Mrs. Callaway’s classroom were tested on their ability to communicate and access information under pressure to escape the classroom.

Through ongoing communication with group members, students needed to explain their thinking and show their math understanding to solve puzzles to showcase all they knew about fractions. Students were split into heterogeneous groups to see who could escape first. In order to escape the classroom and unlock a treasure chest, students read adding and subtracting word problems. Easy right? NO! That was only half the battle. Students then needed to figure out riddles using clues to learn the 5 digits needed to unlock a treasure box.

What was observed during this activity was AMAZING! Students worked together harmoniously. These mathematicians were task oriented, and completely focused on meeting their goal as a team. With teamwork comes collaboration. There was no way to escape unless students worked together. Students who were typically shy, found themselves in leadership roles and encouraged and helped drive their teams to success. ALL students successfully escaped and were enthralled with the activity. Once the challenge was completed the students wanted to extend it into Social Studies and Science.

There is more than one way to review content standards and they do not all need to be a test or a quiz. Mrs. Callaway and I are so proud of our students! We look forward to more opportunities to incorporate mathematical challenges to increase rigor to unlock student potential in the classroom.

Laura Franco
Title I District Academic Coach

Contributing Author: Mr. Oscar Tromp and Mrs. Karmen Callaway

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