Using games, and especially escape activities in the classroom is a great way to boost engagement which, in turn, boosts comprehension and retention. Create your own Digital Escape Activity for your middle school science classroom using this free template!
Have you tried my free Weather Vocabulary Escape Activity yet?
A simple way to make a digital breakout is to use Google Sites. On Google Sites, you can add text to explain the problem, add images that link to puzzles, and add a Google Form onto which students must enter a password that they’ve learned from the clues. Then, to share the escape activity with your middle school students, just Publish the Google Site and share the URL with your students.
Are you ready to create your own Digital Escape Activity for your middle school science classroom? Here is a template you can use to create your own escape activity for your own classroom.
Tips for success:
- If students need a clue, tell them to click the different parts of the image and read each of the links.
- Allow students to struggle a little before you give them a clue. If you help them too quickly, they’ll learn that they need you to be successful.
- Don’t allow students to struggle for too long before you give them a clue. If you don’t help them quickly enough, they’ll learn that they can’t be successful and that effort is futile.
- How soon is too soon? How late is too late? Watch for signs of frustration or distraction such as fidgeting or acting out.
- Have your students work in small groups – 2 or 3 if they’re advanced or older, 3-4 if they’re younger or need accommodations. If you’re doing this escape room remotely, the best way to do this is through Zoom or a similar virtual meeting application using breakout rooms which allow students to work in small groups without disturbing each other.
Why you should try an escape activity in your classroom
Producing college and career ready students who can think creatively, analyze critically, and make decisions based on data requires intellectual curiosity, a growth mindset, grit, and outside-the-box thinking. Game based learning, including the spectrum of activities such as Quizziz.com, Kahoot.it, collaborative games, scenarios like Breakouts, and video games encourages students who are comfortable making mistakes and taking risks so that they can build the intellectual curiosity necessary to be independent thinkers and contributing members of society.
The research on Breakouts and escape activities is overwhelming. Using Breakout or escape rooms in the classroom, students are “immediately curious” and they use problem-solving skills as they “made mistakes, backtracked, and tried again, moving from one clue to the next” (Goerner, 2016). Breakout activities make learning “more problem-based, more social, more interactive and more physical” (Toppo, 2016). When students must work in cooperative groups, “even the initially reluctant students gained confidence and began taking active roles in the quest for solutions” (Goerner, 2016). Activities that are appropriately challenging without being too difficult are more engaging for students in much the same way that playing slot machines is engaging – you’re never quite sure if this time is going to get you the prize (McBride & Derevensky, 2016). “Breakout creates a real sense of excitement with the students and staff. They have to collaborate as a team to solve problems, use logic and communication skills and they need to have fun to solve the breakout games” (Dutton, 2016).
Dutton, L. (2016). Breakout Edu: http://www.breakoutedu.com. School Librarian, (2). 83.
Goerner, P. (2016). SLJ reviews breakout EDU: puzzle-based challenges are the name of the game in these versatile kits. School Library Journal, (10). 10.
McBride, J., & Derevensky, J. (2016). Gambling and Video Game Playing Among Youth. Journal Of Gambling Issues, (34), 156-178. doi:10.4309/jgi.2016.34.9
Toppo, G. (2016). ‘Breakout EDU’ looks to invigorate education. USA Today.July 6, 2016