I LOVE escape rooms in general. I have done some with my friends and I find them exhilarating.
In the past few years digital escape rooms have found their way into classrooms and for good reason. Many of the teachers I have spoken with are willing to use them but just don’t know how to incorporate a digital escape room into their classroom.
Escape rooms create a level of engagement and excitement like no other activity that I have used. They pack so much content and create healthy competition among peers. After all, it’s a game played in teams where they must find clues to unlock different parts of the game. When you think about it, it’s just like a video game where kids are taken on an adventure to reach a common goal.
In this blog post I’ll discuss how I set up a classroom for a digital escape room (if you have been following me you know I don’t have my own classroom. I am a math coach who goes into other teachers’ classrooms to provide support). All of the teachers I service are always willing to lend me their classroom and students to do a digital escape room activity.
What’s needed for a digital escape room?
- a few laptops or chrome books (since students are grouped in teams, you don’t need a device for each student). I’d say 4 to 5 groups is perfect.
- internet access (these escape rooms are mostly housed in a google site so internet is a must).
- a link to the digital escape room.
Why use a digital escape room?
- they provide a level of engagement hard to accomplish with any other activity.
- you can pack content from an entire unit into this one hour activity and students won’t complain because they are having fun.
- provides healthy competition for students.
- it allows struggling students to complete a rigorous activity and feel successful at completing a task.
- teachers don’t need hours of prepping, cutting, laminating, and putting things in folders. It takes seconds to simply email students the link or show the link on a smart board.
How to set up Digital Escape Rooms
Because of the digital nature of these math digital escape rooms, set up is a breeze. Set up pods of desks in your classroom by grouping a few desks together.
I like to have 4 to 5 students in a group. They all work using the same laptop. I also like to put some students on the carpet with a laptop or chrome book to keep groups separated.
You can play music in the background that relates to the theme of the escape room. Many teachers also display a timer. 60 minutes is typical and it lets students know they need to escape before the time is up.
What is my role as the teacher during an activity like this?
Your role is to facilitate, coach, and guide. But not to tell them the answer!
This is important.
Escape rooms are challenging and students love this!
They get really excited when they finally discover a clue! Don’t steal that joy by helping them too much.
Because sometimes they veer way off, I like to provide my students with two clue cards.
They can simply be two index cards that they get to use when they are stuck and need a little help.
This is not to be used to get the answer but rather to provide guidance when they are way off. Since they only get two, most groups tend to use them wisely and in many instances they don’t use them at all.
Collect the cards as they use them.
These videos are from this Single Digit Digital Escape Room. This was a third grade classroom and it took teams between 60 and 90 minutes.
What’s holding you back from trying out a math digital escape room?
I have a few math escape rooms for a variety of grade levels and skills.