No escape...! UPDATED!

Before you read this blog, I have created a newer, longer escape room aimed at Upper KS2 (Grades 4 and 5, USA).  Check it out here: Escape! (link will open in a new window).

You can access both escape rooms, and any future ones (I really enjoy making them), from my website at bit.ly/carlslearningplace.

If you want me to make a custom room, or if you have a suggestion for a theme, please let me know in the comments below.




Not a blog in the traditional sense this week.  Instead, I offer up my maths escape room based on the very popular Jacquline Wilson novel, Hetty Feather.

If you head over to bit.ly/hfescape, or just click HERE, you can check it out for yourself.


It was made using a combination of Google Slides and a Google Form.  I have used the same approach with children in geography lessons, getting them to make a website with active hyperlinks.  It's yet another phenomenally powerful Google tool!


Anyway, the activity.  When I say it's based on Hetty Feather, I really only mean that I have added some HF images to the slides because one of the children I work with likes the stories (I didn't even ask permission, but I'm not monetizing it, so hopefully Nick Sharratt, the BBC and Jacqueline Wilson don't get me to take it down!  Seriously guys, if you read this, your work is excellent, please let me use it!).  So it could be very easily altered to account for any tastes, should you consider making one yourself.

Why an escape room?  They're fun and they introduce an element of urgency to the learning.  A digital escape room is super easy to set up as well as it requires an internet connection and some scratch paper.  

This room only has three combination locks to discover because it needs to fit inside a half-hour session, but you can hopefully see how the concept can be built up to include more puzzles and activities.  

The key to everything is knowing what you want your answers to be.  Google Forms is a great tool because you can a) make your form a quiz, which allows you to assign correct answers, and b) you can add response validation to those answers to only accept the correct response (it also lets you add a clue if they children make a mistake). 


When you know what you want your combination codes (or answers) to be, you just create some questions to generate those answers.  I've used a couple of measurement questions and some addition and subtraction with money because that's what this child needs.  It can literally be anything though.  I have been known to browse the questions on TestBase and use those for revision.


If you want to get really creative, you can create several single-slide presentations and link their URLs to a QR code (I like to use www.qrstuff.com for this as it is so simple.  Just copy the URL, paste into the box and copy the resulting QR code.  Thank-you, qrstuff.com!).  Stick those QR codes around the classroom (or school if your Headteacher is cool) and send the children off with a tablet (or even a phone).  Or, if you're worried about children being online unsupervised, use the creator tools over at www.classtools.net/QR/ to create a QR treasure hunt that works OFFLINE!  

Either way works a treat.  The important bit is sorting your Google Form as that forms the 'escape' part of the escape room.  

So, you create your Google Form and turn it into a quiz with response validated answers (be sure to check the 'Required' field, otherwise they can cheat!).  Then, after the last combination code, you add a section.  If you are short of time, like me, this section takes the children to a congratulatory screen that informs them they have escaped.  I'll be honest, it's not great but I will be there to make a lot of noise and maybe produce some sort of prize.

Lovely.  But what if you want to take it one further?  Here's where you can get EXTRA creative...

You can create a certificate in Google Slides or Drawings and leave it editable (this is so the children can add their name).  You then turn on sharing for anyone with the link.  Copy the link and paste it into the URL shortener at www.thinfi.com.  Thinfi allows you to password-protect the link.  So, instead of simply finishing with a 'well done' message on the Google Form, you can reward the child with the password (I used 'winhetty' for this one) and the short URL.  The child has one more exciting internet-based task and they get to claim and personalise their certificate.



One note about this though.  Since the slide is editable to anyone with the link, there is the possibility of some unscrupulous imp altering it completely, and even adding a naughty message.  A way around this is to create a generic certificate and set the sharing settings to 'view' only.  That, or check the link just before you launch the game.

So that's what I've done to make revision a little more interesting.

If you want to have a go yourself, the link is bit.ly/hfescape.  Please feel free to use it in class, as homework, as a template for your own (make a copy first!).

If you're interested in using Google Slides and Forms to create your own escape rooms (or even revision or homework vending machines - you can get a whole term of homework covered in a few simple clicks, including tutorial videos) then please let me know in the comments.

As always, I can be reached in any of the ways listed below and I hope you are all looking out for each other.  Remember, mental health is important.  You can't help others if you're not helping yourself.

Carl Headley-Morris

@Mr_M_Musings          mrmorristeacher@gmail.com

Comments