My students are awesome, caring, and ready to learn. However, many of them come to school with distracted minds and struggles. We live in a community that has a severe opioid problem. Students are dealing with addiction with parents, older siblings and other relatives.
To help them put this all behind and focus on the learning environment, I have found that activities that are highly engaging allow them to really master content, have fun, and be a kid for the time I have them at school.
The 8th grade Science team tries very hard to incorporate hands-on learning, critical thinking, problem solving skills, cooperative groups, and interactive lessons weekly to keep the students engaged while learning. The traditional lecture and notes daily would never accomplish this task. We are constantly looking for creative ideas to utilize in the classroom to drive home concepts and provide higher order thinking while assessing student achievement. Escape rooms have popped up all over the U.S. Although there are several within a 40 minute drive from us, many of my students will never get to experience this fun activity.
The purpose of ESCAPE (an acronym for Encouraging Student Creativity, Adventure, Problem Solving, and Engagement) is to bring excitement to the classroom in addition to a new tool to assess the knowledge and understanding of students after concepts have been taught in class. Each of the materials chosen for this project will allow the Science Team to create escape room type activities involving various puzzles that will challenge students to work cooperatively using information learned.
Students will use critical thinking skills and problem solving skills to successfully complete a challenge posed using science skills that have been covered in the various units.
This will allow teacher assessment of understanding of standards as well as creating an engaging lesson for students. Using the escape room concept to assess students allows for differentiation and reaching multiple learning styles. These supplies will be used for multiple challenges and within various units. The entire 8th grade team will be able to utilize the class set of materials to create challenge lessons that require higher order thinking skills.
Clues and prizes will be locked within the metal boxes. Students will need to complete puzzles and challenges to decipher combinations for locks. Some puzzles will require flashlights or a magnifying glass to see hidden clues. They will work together to complete the task within the time frame. Those that "escape" will be rewarded with small prizes or school recognition. Not only will the escape room lesson foster teamwork, but it will also allow students to demonstrate their understanding of key content standards in a rewarding and challenging way.
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