Blue Ridge Early College students won first place in a STEM Challenge at Southwestern Community College – Macon Campus earlier this month after figuring out a series of problems in an escape-room setting. BREC Math Teacher Brittney Elkins said of the four escape rooms, her current and former students finished with the best times for the three rooms they solved using their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
“They had to use critical thinking and knowledge form their previous math courses to get codes to unlock the next clue,” said Elkins. “I think they worked really well together as a team and delegated responsibilities well. Different groups were working on different problems and everyone knew what they were supposed to be doing.”
She added that the rooms each had a theme including one set in the future, the past, and on Mars. BREC competed against Nantahala and Franklin schools and each team had 45 minutes to solve a room’s puzzles. BREC junior Katy Stewart said it was a good time and a good way to test their math skills.
“I thought it was pretty cool, mainly because someone came up with a math themed escape room,” said Stewart. “There were some easy and difficult ones to solve, but the hardest part was tapping into my high school math part of my brain.”
BREC junior Ashley Alvarez said it made mathematics almost tolerable.
“I thought it was really fun,” said Alvarez. “It actually made me like math for a day. The hardest part was being timed because I don’t do well under pressure.”
BREC sophomore Devin Bryson said not all challenges were STEM related.
“The hardest part was getting there, we got lost,” said Bryson. “But it was pretty fun. Ms. Elkins teaching helped us out a lot.”
BREC students who took 1st place at STEM Challenge listed below:
Photos courtesy of Brittney Elkins