This activity is designed to help new students find their way around the library and learn how to use the classifications. It takes approximately 20-30 minutes to complete and can be played in groups of three. I have created five copies of the website and forms so that different groups can solve the tasks in a different order and avoid getting in each other’s way.
At the beginning of the activity, students listen to a presentation about the library, the catalog, and the various things they can do in the library. Then they complete the escape room to practice their skills. The forms with the questions are linked in a Google site, but I am showing them individually here because they can’t be solved outside of our library. Each page begins with a small text in which the “Mad H@cker” challenges the students, connecting all of the tasks to a cohesive story.
Overall, this escape room activity has been a great success, with 16 classes of 25-28 students each enjoying it so far.
At the start of the activity, students watch an introductory film that explains that a hacker is trying to shut down the school’s network and that they must try to prevent this from happening. This premise was chosen because we thought that students would be more motivated to save the school’s WiFi than books or teachers. The film sets the stage for the rest of the escape room and helps to immerse the students in the experience.
You can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/oFSuEP-F4eE
For the first task in the escape room, students learn about how the books are numbered and where to find different classifications in the library. They have to find books with the correct classification and find a title or image on the cover or the spine. It’s important to note that students should not take the books off the shelf, as other teams will also need to find them.
Once the students have found the three words, they can use a number code to find the final code word. For example, if the first answer is “stars,” they know that 7 corresponds to the letter “s,” 20 corresponds to “t,” and 12 corresponds to “a.” The code word for this task might be “Sci Fi,” which leads to the next topic – the symbols used in the fiction section of the library.
Call me Mad H@cker... I can write any code, I can break any code... can U?
For the second task in the escape room, students are presented with pictures representing different literary genres. They are given a hint that the first letter of the first picture, the second letter of the middle picture, and the last letter of the last picture will spell out a secret message. For example, if the first picture represents the genre “Crime” (letter C), the middle picture represents “Romance” (letter O), and the last picture represents “Fantasy” (letter Y).
To solve this task, students will need to run to a poster that shows the meanings of the pictures. They will then be able to identify the genre associated with each picture and determine the secret message. This task helps students learn about the different literary genres and how they are represented in the library.
So U think number codes are easy? What about this? First letter of the first. Second letter of each of the middle ones. Last letter of the last.
To complete this task, students will need to explore the library and locate the signs that indicate the various subjects. They will then need to determine the colours of these signs and write them down. This task helps students become familiar with the layout of the library and how to find different subjects within it.
So U want MORE colours...? Are U sure...? Philosophy Cinema/TV Industry Animals
In the next task, students will practice using the online library catalogue. They will be given a link and asked to enter a keyword in the search box to find the correct letters and numbers. In the example, they find “p h 0 t 0” and make the word “photo.”
Ok, I get it, U are good at cracking codes. But can U hack the net like the Mad H@tter? I love messing with the library catalogue.... You probably don't even know where to find it!
Next, students will be presented with a photo of the book return box and will notice a small sliding door on the side. They will need to find the real book return box in the library and open the sliding door to find a number code inside.
So you want a photo of me?
To complete the task, students will also need to locate the price list for the library’s stationery and find the corresponding numbers for the code.
U won't leave me alone, will U? First let's go on a shopping trip together! First digits only! metal compass- glue stick - eraser - poly pockets
Finally, students will be given a photo of a mobile phone charger locker in the library and the code to open it. When they successfully open the locker, they will find a memory stick with the “virus” and a small prize.
One challenge we faced was that each team completed the tasks in a different order, which made it difficult for library staff to track the progress of each team and accurately determine the rankings.
To ensure a fair and engaging competition, we recommend assigning students to mixed ability groups rather than allowing them to choose their own teammates. This way, there is a better chance that each team will have at least one member who is motivated to participate and can encourage their teammates to do the same, rather than falling into the temptation of chatting in a corner instead.