Many of us can probably identify with the desire to “break-out” - especially during 2020, a year full of quarantines and restrictions we could not escape. One of the Public Library School Library Subaward recipients from 2020 overcame challenges to successfully do just that!
The S. Verna Fowler Academic Library, Menominee Public Library, Keshena Primary School, and the Menominee Indian Middle School worked together to create a series of escape games for elementary and middle school age children using STEM skills with a cultural focus on maple sugar, sturgeon, and wild-rice. In escape games, teams use inquiry, problem-solving, and knowledge to solve puzzles with the purpose of answering an overarching quest in a set period of time. Although the original intention was for all the games to be played in physical environments using BreakoutEDU, the team shifted their work, creating some of the games to be played in a digital environment, which made them more accessible during the pandemic. The work was truly a community effort, enlisting the help of librarians, teachers, and students to create an engaging way to learn.
The focus of this grant opportunity, provided by the DPI Library Services team with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), was to honor and encourage collaborative work between schools and public libraries. The DPI Library Services Team celebrates the amazing accomplishments of this collaborative group, which have also been recognized in the Menominee Nation News. The games created through this project have also been published on the BreakoutEDU website, making them accessible to millions of students.
Project leader Laura Robinson, Youth Services Librarian for the Menominee County Public Library found this project strengthened connections between the school and public library and has had many positive outcomes. She hopes other educators, especially those in districts serving native students and families, will be able to use these resources. The games can be found on the BreakoutEDU website.