JGHS teacher Megan Gieser seeks to bring lessons to life for her
students, and recently, she did so by spending many hours with a few of
her fellow teachers to create a “breakout” lesson revolving around the
critically acclaimed novel “The Things They Carried.”
“Breakout” lessons are similar to the popular “Escape the Room”
scenarios in that students have to decipher clues and take action to
solve—and escape—a situation.
Two classes were broken into teams: those stationed in Vietnam and those
“home.” While deciphering separate sets of clues amongst themselves,
teams had to also communicate via walkie-talkie from separate rooms.
“Look closer at the photo of the man protesting with fire,” Gio, a
student on the Vietnam team, urged the home team through a walkie-talkie
during the lesson.
Students navigated through provided clues using black lights, news
articles, and images from the Vietnam War to open three different lock
boxes. Without knowledge of the novel or historical context, getting
through the challenges would have been impossible, but each class
completed the challenge with mere minutes, or seconds, to spare,
showcasing their knowledge of the novel as well as their abilities to
After completing the challenge, teams were ranked, similar to military rankings, by their success.
“Students learned that effort, teamwork, awareness, and knowledge are key factors in succeeded as a unit,” said Ms. Gieser.
Additionally, the following week, students participated in a fitness
lesson to help simulate the things soldiers carried during Vietnam, as
many physical challenges and obstacles the soldiers faced during that time period.