A few years ago escape rooms became the new thing to do, not only did they start becoming popular attractions in malls, but they also started becoming a fun way to get students engaged in their learning. I have purchased a few escape rooms throughout the years and was able to deconstruct them and start making my own to better fit my student's needs or lesson objectives. This blog is about how you can easily make any worksheet or formative assessment into a digital escape room.
If you have a chance to get lockboxes and locks to make physical escape rooms for your students it is a total blast, but takes time to set up. I tend to create my escape rooms in a sequence, questions in level 1 will give you the clues to unlock the next box and access the level 2 questions. This is repeated until your students make it to the end and "escape". When making a digital escape room I follow that same sequential format, but I have seen so many other creative ways educators have made these work for them. I use Google forms to make my escape rooms because I love my Google Drive Apps, but you can just as easily use Microsoft Forms.
When creating the escape room visualize the various sections of the digital form as different "rooms" to escape from by solving various tasks. Start with the check-in room where you get your student's name and then build a new section. The new section will have the first series of clues that lead to the discovery of a code to unlock the next level or section. You can use videos, pictures, reading passages, etc as the means of sharing the clues with the students. I am far less creative than others, so I just use 4 multiple-choice review questions that lead to a cipher key or logic puzzle that provides the 4 digit code to unlock the level. You will use a short response style question in the digital form that is formatted to only accept a specific answer ( the code) before the participant can move on. This is pretty hard to explain in writing, so below is my tutorial video where I show you exactly what I am talking about and what this all looks like.
Now that you have a better understanding of how I create and set up my digital escape room, it is your turn to start creating your very own. Below are my free escape room questions and cipher templates for you to download. Also, you will find a basic escape room I made that you should be able to go through to see how it works as a student. I think completing a digital escape room as a student allowed me to understand how to how to make one more than anything else. I hope you enjoy the possibilities these bring for you and your students!
Pro Tips -
I mention this in the tutorial but if you set up a challenging escape room, it will allow you to have time to work with small groups of students that need more individualized instruction while your students that are ahead can complete a fun and engaging content related activity that self grades.
You can use a combination of videos, questions, pictures, and texts to give your students the clues, so many possibilities!
I find that 5-6 levels are challenging enough for a handful of my students to get through in 1 class period (I teach 6th graders). If you have the escape room linked into your LMS students that don't finish or get to it can try again at home!
If you tell your students that it is a competition and the 1st three students to escape get a prize and that if you hear them sharing hints or answers they would be disqualified from the reward, there is a hush of silence and intense concentration!