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By Terry Ng

Educator Karly Moura designs escape rooms for various grade levels and subject areas.

Escape rooms are adventure games where players work together to find clues and solve puzzles to escape a simulated danger before time runs out. The first escape room was created in 2007 by Japanese company Scrap Entertainment, and the experience has become so popular that today there are more than 2,300 escape rooms in America.

Now educators are creating virtual escape rooms to enhance their curricula. They’re a great way to introduce gameplay, teamwork and problem solving to any lesson plan. Students usually must answer questions, solve puzzles, or work out problems to unlock the next level.

Examples are plentiful online. Try a few free escape rooms created by Karly Moura, a member of Mt. Diablo Education Association, at sites.google.com/view/karlymourapdresources. (She also offers a slide deck that walks you through creating one.)

Build your own digital escape room with a combination of a few free tools:

  • Create a virtual “room” or multiple areas with Google Sites (sites.google.com). Use Canva (canva.com) to illustrate the space
    with your own photos, graphics and drawings.
  • Add and view clues on a Jamboard (jamboard.google.com).
  • Make digital puzzles and keys with Google Forms (forms.google.com).

Need some ideas to try? Here are a few to get you started:

  • Create an escape room in a different century and have students answer different history questions from that era to return to the current day.
  • Students on a field trip at the zoo accidentally fall into the lion’s den. Can they unlock the ladder of math puzzles to climb out before the lions wake up from their nap?
  • It’s Halloween, and you and your friends are trapped in Dracula’s house. You must use all the spooky clues to solve the science questions and unlock the locks before the clock strikes 12.

Have a virtual escape room idea for the classroom you’d like to share? Let us know on Twitter @wearecta.

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