Trust me, this one's a game-changer. Read on for a lesson that gets kids involved and excited to learn. How refreshing!
Looking to Engage Your Students?
Do you want them to analyze and enthusiastically participate rather than simply memorizing? An escape school game energizes even the most disinterested student.
An escape room school game requires your students to analyze the situation, decipher clues and apply the lessons you taught them to successfully escape from the room. They transform from daydreaming about summer days with The Mouse into Sherlock Holmes, minutely analyzing each clue.
The Benefits of Playing Escape Room Games in the Classroom:
Escape room school games contain many educational benefits. Those include:
• The design of school escape room games cater to all learning styles, benefiting visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. •Critical thinking: Escape games encourage critical thinking, teamwork, and communication skills, all of which are in high demand when students enter the workforce. • Focus: The limited time to escape grabs students’ attention much better than dry lectures or worksheets. • Patience: Multiple puzzles, some with multiple steps, reward kids for taking their time to reach the right solution rather than rushing through the clues and arriving at the wrong answer. • Fun and engaging: Kids love escape rooms. Escape games appeal to them in the same way that video games and role-playing games do, resulting in the motivation needed to learn what they need to escape. • Teamwork: Escape games require collaboration and communication. You can also creatively use the natural leaders in the class to improve classroom dynamics. • Sparks creativity: The game’s world and the challenge of escaping fires kids up, while the interesting puzzles light their imaginations and encourage out-of-the-box thinking. • Bloom's Taxonomy: Escape games move students directly into the application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. • Game Theory: Let your kids explore the theory and practice of game design, an increasingly popular career path. •Problem Solving: Escape room school games teach kids the logical thinking required to code, an important skill in our digital world. • Be on the cutting edge: Escape games present the subject matter in an exciting manner and also teach important ancillary skills, such as critical thinking.
So, how do you make an escape room game work in the classroom? I’m glad you asked. These steps will ensure an exciting experience for the kids and send your 'cool teacher' ratings soaring!
First - Choose an Exciting Game, Print it Out, and Prep the Class
The first step is the easy step! Find the escape game that fits your subject, download it and print it out! It's a piece of cake (or pie, or flan…)!
You can also edit the game to make the material fit your subject or the difficulty level match your grade level. The games are easily editable in PowerPoint. Once you’re done, all you'll need to do is print and play.
Keep in mind, that escape games work best in teams of 4-6, so you'll need to divide up your class accordingly.
Try to put kids with different learning styles from each group, so that they all have a chance to shine and to learn from each other.
After you've printed the game, you've got three setup options to choose from.
Which game works best for your class?
Frost (Magical Quest)
Kids Thanksgiving parties
Can your kids help the magical forest Wisp in time?
You chose your escape school game and printed it. Now you are ready for the students. You have several options for setting up your game. Choose the one that fits your class and circumstance the best.
The easiest option is simply to print out a copy of the game for each team. This option works best when the escape room takes place within a normal class period. Have them assemble around a table or on the floor, give them the puzzles, and start the timer! An escape room is all in your mind anyway! You’re never in Tut’s tomb or Marie Laveaux’s swamp. Kids have great imaginations so let them soar!
If the kids need hints, they can come to you for help. You can decide to help them or tell them to take a few more minutes on the puzzle before they get help — especially if the same team has been at your desk every three minutes.
You may even want to make this a contest between teams and assess time penalties for hints if they need more than three. Those penalties will make them work much harder on each puzzle! They’ll avoid asking for hints like the Road Runner avoiding Coyote’s trap!
They’ll also have to come to you to check their answer. This will help you monitor their progress and ensure that everyone remains involved in the game. If a team seems stuck and has not been to you in quite some time, you may need to point them in the right direction.
Some teachers only give a puzzle or two at a time out. Once the students solve these puzzles, they report to the teacher to obtain the next puzzles. Besides allowing you to track their progress, you get to see the frazzled faces as they hustle to and from your desk, eyes on the clock, desperately calculating the remaining time. Tests are never this much fun!
Option 2 — Make An Escape Room
This option works best on theme days, fairs, or other days when normal classes are not in session. That’s because you will be transforming your classroom into a magical place where imaginations roam and kids forget that they are in school. They’ll feel the heat of the desert or the cool confines of the castle dungeon.
Print out the posters that come with the game and hang them in prominent places. Use them to cover up the normal wall art. You can even search the internet for related art. Your kids may feel the footsteps of the zombies coming up behind them!
Place the clues around the room. If you like, you can hide them in drawers or under desks. Just be sure to let the teams know that they may need to search a little to find the clues. Also, clearly mark items, such as your desk drawers, as not part of the game and not to be searched!
This option only allows one team at a time in the room. If you have an assistant you can set up two rooms to allow two teams to play at once, with each of you serving as gamemaster in one room. Which one of you will earn the rep as the “easy” gamemaster?
Option 3 — Challenge Your Kids With Physical Puzzles
You can take your escape room to the next level by upgrading it with physical puzzles and props. These will make your escape school game a truly immersive experience. Replace the game sheets with physical puzzles. Or, simply add physical puzzles to the escape game.
For example, you can make your students decipher a combination lock to open the box containing the next puzzle. The lockbox may contain a key to another box with yet another combination to solve. Or, you could put a rotary phone on a desk and make them dial the right number to solve the clue. You probably have very few students who know what it really means to “dial” a phone!
If you choose this option, have several physical puzzles in the game. Physical props allow for a deeper immersion of the players in the game. Imaginations will run wilder and the tension in the room will build as they wonder if they are spending too much time trying to solve the combination to the lock box! They will love it!
Of course, there is a downside to building a cool escape room school game like this…you’ll have to build another!
Follow Up After The Escape School Game To Cement Lessons Learned
Reinforce cognitive awareness and critical thinking skills by conducting a post-mortem. What did they do right? What did they do wrong? Which red herrings did they follow, and why? Do they ever want to see another combination lock again?
In the workforce, these types of learnings are standard practice. By teaching your kids the process now, they will be more prepared to participate in the activity in the future. They will also learn that constructive criticism and reflection help improve future performance. Students also learn that answers are not simply right/wrong but more often are good/better.
Working through this process beats seeing red ink on a test! Your kids will prefer discussing how to improve escape room performance than reading dry comments from a teacher after receiving a “C” (of course, I’ve had a few comments on my tests that weren’t so dry, but that’s a topic for another time).
Reinforce the process, especially the critical thinking and problem solving skills, by having them create their own short escape game. Make your students exchange escape games in class. This gives them the opportunity to see how well they problem solve and how well they design games! You’ll also find out which ones take a little too much pleasure in stumping their friends!
Have A Blast Teaching With Escape Room School Games!
Escape school games motivate and invigorate students while teaching skills far beyond memorization.
You’ll enhance your kids’ lives by giving them an early start on critical life skills. They’ll also have a blast and will remember you fondly at their reunion in 30 years!
What better reason do you need to put together an escape room in your classroom today!