I love teaching math to my 7th graders. Finding the volume of rectangular prisms and solving linear expressions is thrilling and fascinating (I can almost hear my students rolling their eyes). Specifically, I enjoy my commonplace lessons as I feel they provide straightforward access to content and ample opportunities to practice (I can hear excitement emanating now). Though I enjoy my well-oiled routine, I do like spicing up my math lessons with escape rooms, in particular, digital escape rooms. Digital escape rooms provide students with a way to challenge, review, compete, and a more exciting way to do math.
Setting up digital escape rooms
My favorite escape rooms provide a tidy Google Form where students input their answers and seamlessly move through different challenges. Students must work together to solve the problem, then follow the instructions to break the code. I like this aspect of escape rooms because it adds a bit of flair. Rather than solving problems and inputting answers, students need to decode a message/solve a riddle to complete the puzzle. Escape rooms foster collaboration and communication when played by students in teams.
While we still did distance learning (and because I myself am rather introverted and prefer to work alone), I offered the choice of working independently to “escape” or to work in a small group. Further, to quell the anxiety of racing against the clock while also fostering the spirit of competition, I invited students to compete against one another or to work through at their own pace. Voila! Inadvertent personalization, all thanks to escape rooms. In addition to being a nice change of pace, escape rooms can be a means of formative assessment for me. I can view the results on the form and make informed decisions about how to proceed with our lesson progression.
Leveraging existing escape rooms
Admittedly, I wish I had more time or wherewithal to create escape rooms from scratch. If you’ve got the gumption and energy to make your own escape room, more power to you. If you’re feeling really ambitious, check out these escape room supplies. Often, I find excellent escape rooms on Teachers Pay Teachers. I use them to prepare for assessments or as a midway check as we progress through a chapter. Teachers Pay Teachers has a wide selection of Escape Rooms both on paper and digital (totally worth a couple of bucks). During distance learning, I utilized digital versions, made breakout rooms with Google Meets, put the kids into teams, and had them race to be the first to “escape.”
Whether you’re prepping for a Number Systems Benchmark by adding and subtracting integers, reviewing order of operations before solving expressions, or ready to have some rowdy fun at the end of the year, Escape rooms are sure to be a crowd pleaser (just sit back and watch the magic happen).
How will you use escape rooms to enthrall your students? Share in the comments below!
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Looking for more ways to add flair to your math lessons? Check out “How I Use Blooket in Middle School Math”