CodeBreaker offers new games, prizes


Macy McClish

Students can begin competing in the CodeBreaker competition Oct. 1.

CodeBreaker, a competition which will award winning students Chromebooks and gift cards, began Monday, Oct. 1.

CodeBreaker is an online, month-long contest which tests students through a variety of challenges like games, codes, riddles and quizzes on multiple subjects. Canyon ISD Chief Technology Officer Michael Keough said he hopes students have a good time with the competition.

“I hope students realize this is an opportunity other schools aren’t doing,” Keough said. “I don’t know of any other school district in Texas or beyond that does something like this.”

The first place winner of last year’s competition won a laptop.

“With last year’s CodeBreaker, the whole idea was we would have different challenges,” Keough said. “You would have to complete one challenge to get to the next until someone finished the game. Students would get so far and get frustrated because they couldn’t figure out something and give up.”

I don’t know of any other school district in Texas or beyond that does something like this.”

— Michael Keough, Chief Technology Officer

Keough said the game this year will be more open-ended.

“There’s more options than going through a sequential set of codes,” Keough said. “The codes are still there, but now there are different ways you can accomplish what we call points.”

Points in the game accumulate as students play through the challenges, and whoever has the most at the end of game wins. Students will also work in assigned teams to gain points.

“If you answered codes correctly, you get a certain number of points assigned to that code, or maybe you do something in class and your teacher gives you a code,” Keough said. “If you complete levels, you get codes. We also have an academic portion where you can play what we call the NExUS.”

The NExUS is a part of the game with six zones of educational tests and quizzes which can all earn points in the competition.

“If you answer the academic question correctly, you get a point, you get a team point and a point towards that particular NExUS field,” Keough said. “We’re integrating the curriculum into the game, but it also allows you to do a capture-the-flag type environment. If your team is winning that zone, daily or more than daily, you’re going to get points for yourself and your team.”

Keough said CodeBreaker was meant to help students problem-solve.

“That’s why we do the NExUS,” Keough said. “It’s a fun way of going through problem-solving trying to get answers. With the CodeBreaker, the answer is easy, but it’s not always easy to figure out.

The student who collects the most points by November will choose a prize first, followed by the second-highest scorer until all prizes are awarded. Sophomore Thomas Lopez started the CodeBreaker games the day it opened.

“I haven’t had a good start on it, but it looks cool,” Lopez said. “I might try it on as time goes on. I feel very determined to get some prizes for working on each of these subjects.”

Students can access CodeBreaker by clicking this link or through one sent to student emails.