About two weeks ago a group of fifth-graders asked me when we would be doing another Escape Room. They actually cheered when I told them I was working on a new one. This one was actually inspired by a family trip to Crested Butte during Christmas break. I started thinking about a STEM challenge while riding a lift to the top of the mountain and BAM this Escape Room and Challenge were born!
It’s based on all the sporting events that happen during the winter and also has a little inspiration from the Winter Olympics. However, this Escape Room can be used every winter. It is not specific to the Olympics!
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What is an Escape Room?
If you have not read about the projects we call Escape Rooms, let me fill you in a little. Escape Rooms are missions that involve solving riddles and tasks to find clues to open a locked box. Students work together to find the keywords that lead to the needed information to unlock a lock.
In this Escape Room, students have three tasks to complete. Each task gives them clues and they discover a lock code to open a locked box. The box gives them their next task. In the end, they either receive a certificate of completion or the materials and assignment for a STEM Challenge!
How fun is that? Let me just tell you, I have students that enjoy these more than anything we do. They love the complexity and the excitement of racing to find the next clue and lock code.
Let’s take a closer look at this Winter Escape Room!
The Winter Sports Escape Room
TASK 1: This is the latest STEM Escape Room! The first task is a math paper. The clues lead students to a specific ski resort which is displayed on a poster and when they find that poster they will also find the lock code. The photo above shows a little of the table students will use to compare the elevation of certain ski resorts and the average snowfall for those resorts. This math task is challenging!
TASK 2: The second task is a map grid. Students place colored objects on the map and follow detailed directions to move objects all over the world.
If they follow the directions exactly one cube will end up near South Korea which will lead students to a poster of a sporting event.
And, of course, they will also find the lock code for the second box.
TASK 3: The third task is to match images of athletes with descriptions of their sports. If the descriptions are placed correctly they will spell out the answer to a question that will lead to the final poster and the final lock code. To make this more challenging there are also two “fake” posters with numbers on them- so students have to really think about the clues and choose the right posters! NOTE: The posters and activities in this Escape Room reference winter sports, but do not pertain to only a specific event. The resource will work every year!
What Happens Next?
The final box is unlocked and students grab a criteria card for a STEM Challenge! And what a spectacular challenge it is!
Students design ski lift chairs and the skiers! I mean, seriously, just take a look at the skiers and chairs! The kids had a blast decorating their skiers with goggles and skis and ski poles. We hung these ski lift chairs on a rope in the STEM Lab and left our lift up on display for a while! So fun!
This set of activities took two class sessions-one for the Escape Room and one for the STEM Challenge.
We used math, geography, following directions, collaboration, problem-solving, planning, designing, improving designs, teamwork, and had so much fun!
It’s a perfect challenge for the wintertime!
Don’t forget – when your students are tired of the cold, blustery winter days, add some exciting STEM sporting events. They will sheer!
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