Chemistry students “unlock” reviews


Chemistry students definitely weren’t relying on worksheets and textbooks last week in teacher Patrice Cox’s class when they tried out a new reviewing activity called “Crack the Safe.”

“I use puzzles a lot anyway, but this one just made it a bit more interesting to the kids,” Cox said. “I guess it was because there was a goal instead of just solving a puzzle.”

“Crack the Safe” is a set of activities that Cox starting using this year for her chemistry classes. She keeps an assortment of different prizes in locked boxes, and the students must work through a series of puzzles to get the codes to unlock the boxes. Their goal is to unlock the boxes within the class period.

“Honestly, it was fun and challenging at the same time,” sophomore Asa Henson said. “It really made our group think in different ways to complete the challenges.”

The idea for this activity began when Cox went to an escape room a few years ago. She was intrigued and started thinking about ways she could make educational escape rooms. Therefore, she created “Crack the Safe”, inspired by projects she had seen other people do online.

“I found a lesson that had some puzzles that would go with it, and that was it,” Cox said. She laughed as she explained.

Cox got different results from each class, mainly positive. Students were either calmly working, or super competitive. Either way, many of the students enjoyed doing this for a review activity.

“I thought that cracking the safe was a fun way to learn chemistry and work with my classmates,” junior Gina Jones said. “We were all doing something different but we were working as one.”