Learning with Escape Rooms

Escape rooms have become very popular in the last few years. Even more recently, teachers have started using escape rooms as educational tools. The New York Times article linked below talks about a science-based escape room made by a physics professor from the University of Illinois, Paul Kwiat. It is one of few escape rooms based on real science. Before entering the room, the four team members were given a sheet of paper that had science information on it that they would have to use to escape. Kwiat did not want people to remember all of the information, but he wanted people to become more interested in science. Keeping students interested is a crucial part of teaching. It is important to help students learn, but let them have fun at the same time.

I have seen escape rooms used in high school classrooms and it really made the students more excited to learn and they were much more engaged than they ever were during regular classroom lectures. There are limitations in using escape rooms in classrooms, because of all the time needed to plan and perfect it, along with the classroom time that it would take up. However, I believe that it is extremely important to keep students interested in classes such as math and science that are usually considered hard and uninteresting. Using activities like escape rooms in classrooms is a good way to introduce or review topics. In the specific escape room talked about in the article, people were given a sheet with scientific information on it. In a classroom, teachers could give students formulas or key points from a lesson before it is taught so the students can have a hands-on learning experience and become more interested before the teacher’s lecture. It could also be used as a review for tests to keep students excited about learning when they are drained from all of the testing that they have to do.  Overall, I believe escape rooms are a great educational tool and teachers should be using these and more hands on and engaging activities in their STEM classrooms to keep students excited about learning.