Escape rooms or breakouts are a new trend in the leisure industry that is now spreading rapidly to education, especially in the USA.
In a Live Escape Room, a group of players are locked into a room and try to break out by solving puzzles and finding hidden objects usually within a one hour time limit. Escape Rooms usually have an exciting story and theme, such as “In the Mad Professor’s Lab” where you have to try to stop him from creating a zombie virus.
These three elements – story, puzzle and time limit – make Escape Rooms super exciting and ideal for the classroom! They can be adapted to any topic and the puzzles can be an exciting way of introducing or revising content.
Why should you play Escape Rooms in the classroom?
- increase motivation
- promote cooperation and communication
- practise logical thinking and strategy skills
- get students excited about the topic
- can be done within a school lesson
- fits every topic / age group
Creating an escape room lesson takes some time, but then it’s an experience that students will not forget quickly! See below on how to save time by using templates.
There are different types of educational escape rooms:
- With boxes and padlocks – see here on BreakoutEDU
- Digital only -also on BreakoutEDU
- Digital + paper puzzles – my method. Each group of students needs a computer / tablet. Try out a mini escape room that should take about 10-15 minutes: https://sites.google.com/view/huntbigfoot/introduction
I prefer the Digital + Paper method because it’s free (a BreakoutEDU set of boxes and locks costs $ 150!) and several small groups can play at the same time so all students can participate in all the puzzles. The digital “locks” automatically check if the students have found the correct answer and the fastest team can get a prize. However, I still try to include a few real tasks, such as code wheels and jigsaw puzzles, so it’s not just a computer game.