Sam Crews Milepost 1 coordinator at Nexus International School, Malaysia
After successfully completing the IPC unit Active Planet, we wanted to celebrate everything the Year 4 Nexus learners had learnt. As a staff group, we discussed and reviewed the different Knowledge, Skills and Understanding the learners had learnt about during this unit.
We have used the idea of an Escape room a couple times at Nexus International School and we have found it to be a great way to hook learners; watch them integrate different Personal Goals (Resilient, Cooperation, Flexible thinker, Adaptable Et Cetera) and we wanted to incorporate these into our Exit Point.
We were first introduced to escape rooms through a teacher led Professional Development session where a teacher was using it in her Secondary Maths lessons. Students enter a room and they are then locked inside. They then have to work out a series of clues and challenges which will then allow them to solve the mystery and escape the room.
To set the scene, we told the learners they were going to be observed throughout the challenge before they entered the Break Out room. This was to build the suspense of the learners but also enable us to assess them throughout the session. The observer was silent throughout making notes on a clipboard. Once they entered, we play a short 40 second film. This was to set the scene and give more excitement and drama to the session. We used iMovie trailer and FX Guru to bring the film to life. You can view the video on YouTube here
We decided to create a Google form where the learners would have to use the Knowledge they gained to unlock clues. When the learners answered a set of questions correctly, it would reveal 3 digits of the code. This 3 digit code was needed to unlock the box.
For these activities, we have now invested in a couple of padlocks, a fake dictionary which is actually a safe and a safe which you requires 3 digit code to unlock. Once bought, these resources can be used again and again. We have a set which we share between primary and secondary. We then combine them with QR codes which have been chopped up into pieces which are linked to quizzes.
When looking at Skills, we wanted to see if they were able to use their research skills to find out new facts so we set some research question. In addition to this, some clues were hidden within maps. They had to solve clues using the skills previously learnt in the classroom. (History 2.05, 206 and Geography 2.08, 2.11)
While looking at Understanding, we really wanted learners to evaluate and analyse the information. We got them to produce a survival pack and put it in order of most important and least important. The observer then asked questions about why objects were put in different orders. The learners had to justify their decisions as a team. For Example: We put the first aid kit above the mobile phone as someone may be injured and need help and the phone could run out of battery or not work. At one stage we set up an earthquake to take place, afterwards the learners had to get their team members into the recovery position and explain why they were doing each step.
When the learners had finally solved all of the clues, which required them to use their Knowledge, Skills and Understanding they had learnt during Active Planet, they were able to escape the room. For this escape room we had 25 different clues they had to discover but you could use less than 10 or could have more than 50 depending how challenging you want it to be.
What was great about the whole process is each learner was able to shine in their own way. Some were better at the knowledge aspect, some at the reasoning and evaluating while others were better at finding the clues around the room. They really did have to think about how they would work together and escape before their time was up. It was really interesting to observe the emotional roller-coaster they went on during the journey.
Celebrating their success of breaking out of the Escape room, each group received a picture they had made using Photoshop. This showed them running away from an active volcano and they received a little certificate celebrating the fact they were able to escape the Active Planet.