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Escape with Sherlock Holmes

Updated: Jan 3, 2019

Hi readers,

I have to introduce you to Miss Christie Goodwin, a history, art and English teacher in Budapest. She loves being creative in her classroom, and she’s very thankful for the opportunity to teach a few different subjects to some awesome middle school students. I met Christie while she was a student at Grove City College and she was a mover and a shaker then! Christie is always doing engaging things in her classroom and just this past week she created an escape room activity for her students. Here she is in her own words to share about the experience.

The city of Budapest is known for pioneering escape rooms, immersive adventure games involving hands-on puzzles and logic, so it seemed fitting to create an escape room for my 6th grade Hungarian students.

Since my school is about to go on a long break, I decided to create a spooky, cross- curricular escape room to help my students review the concepts we’ve learned in literature, exam prep, history, and art class.

My students thanked me for creating the escape room, and they had a blast, so I consider it a success!

Setting up

The classroom I teach in has quite a few cupboards and sets of drawers, so I hid various puzzle sheets, keys, codes, props and locked boxes throughout the room. I projected my PowerPoint and google form, the digital guides for the escape. I also added some themed props just to set the mood for the room.

Kicking it off

When students came into the room, I had the BBC Sherlock series theme music playing and the title, “Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Red Mask” was projected onto the screen. I welcomed them to the escape room and had three students read a few sentences which gave a bit of background to their situation.

The Escape!

Most escape rooms are created for 5-10 people, so keeping 26 students engaged in a 45 minute escape room required quite a bit of planning. I divided students up into four teams. I gave them a few minutes to collect artifacts and puzzles from around the room, and I checked in with each team to make sure they had all of the necessary materials.

Students then matched literary devices, solved morse code puzzles, used vocabulary words to create acronyms, solved Caesar ciphers, completed a Quizlet Live challenge, completed some physical challenges involving crawling and throwing a ball, and searched through news articles for information about Sherlock Holmes.

Every time they solved a puzzle, they typed the answer into the Google Form. Not only did the Google form create a great visual for “unlocking” the next section, but it also made it easy to link to other resources, such as the Quizlet.

The Finale

At the end of the escape room, I gave one student, who had been on the winning team of Quizlet Live, a red mask to wear. The red mask had a key inside which opened a locked box. The locked box contained a transparent piece with a compass for the students to overlay on the Caesar cipher wheel. The word they discovered solved the final puzzle, and they escaped the room!

Celebration erupted in the room just as the bell rang, which was very lucky timing. I gave every student a high-five on the way out the door and congratulated them for specific successes or contributions.

My students haven’t stopped asking if we can do another escape room, so I think I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Now what? Share below in the comments how you use digital breakouts or physical breakouts in your class.

Remember friends, you have the EduMagic in YOU!

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