An escape room is an adventure game set within a confined space in which players solve puzzles to unlock the door. Originally a videogame, you can now find non-virtual versions in cities all over the world. Players are given a set time limit during which they unveil a story and attempt to get out of the room. In order to do so, the players have to solve a variety of puzzles, riddles and other challenges in order to find keys and combinations to open locks.
Escape rooms have started to be introduced to education as they can be easily adapted to a variety of subjects and provide plenty of opportunities for learning. They can be exciting, intense and a lot of fun. Teamwork and communication is key, which means they are ideal for language learning and teaching too.
During this EVO session we would like to explore different aspects of escape rooms and other puzzles, looking how you can use them for language learning and teaching. Participants are invited to join in to get tips and tricks on how to turn their classrooms into escape rooms.
Recently, you saw an advertisement online to join MI5, the UK’s domestic counter intelligence service and decided to apply. The application was accepted and you were invited to a pre-interview test, along with a number of other applicants. You turn up at the venue, a room at a conference centre and after a short wait, you are addressed by a facilitator, who gives you the following information:
Facilitator: “Congratulations to you all on being selected, and welcome to MI5’s pre-task. The results of today’s task will determine who will be invited to an interview. Your objective is to work in a group to get a golden ticket, which is locked in the suitcase in the corner of this room.”
Facilitator: “Before we start
Facilitator: “Your first set of instructions are in the envelope that I am handing out to you now. Please do not open the envelope until I ask you to. Once we begin, you will have exactly 20 minutes to unlock the suitcase and find the golden ticket. If nobody finds the golden ticket after 20 minutes are up, then you will leave here today without being invited to an interview for MI5. At the end of the 20 minutes, we will talk about the experience and reflect on what you learned from doing it. Before we begin, are there any questions?”
The facilitator hands out envelope with instructions to each group of players and answers questions. Once each group have their envelopes, the facilitator starts the countdown timer. This should preferably be projected in the classroom for all players to see how much time they have left. Alternatively, the facilitator can remind players by shouting out the time left every 5 minutes and then every minute in the last 5 minutes, counting down the seconds at the end if they still haven’t finished.
Facilitator: “The answers to the three questions give you the combination to the lock on the suitcase. When your group thinks you have the three digits, let me know and you can try it out on the actual lock.”
Monitor the discussions as the players work together in groups to answer the questions. If a group thinks they have the answers, then stop the clock and let one of the group members try to open the lock on the suitcase.
Combination for the padlock = 614 a) SIX b) 1st place c) Each number in the series corresponds to the number of letters in the preceding number (i.e. ONE = 3 letters; THREE = 4 letters, etc) – and so the answer = 4 and will be for the rest of the series
When the players succeed, they will find a smaller suitcase inside the large one, with a letter combination lock on it.
Facilitator: “Well done. As you can see, you have found a second, smaller suitcase inside the large one. This suitcase is locked with a different type of lock – one with letters and numbers on it. I want you all now to look around the room to see if you can find a clue to the combination. ”
Facilitator: “Look for things that seem to be out of place. Use your powers of observation.”
When the players start looking around the room, they should soon find a piece of card with photo stuck to the wall.
Facilitator: “Well done, but what does it mean? Can you work out the combination clue to pen the lock?”
ANSWER Combination to unlock padlock = ZORG7 Pictures = Zorg (character from Fifth Element) / Zorg (region in Algeria) / Zorg (character from film Betty Blue) + sum of the three numbers 3 + 0 + 4 = 7
Facilitator: “Why don’t you use the Internet to find the answers to the clues?”
EVO 2019 Escape Room ELT (week 2)
Escape Room ELT
Online Meeting 2 – 20th January
An example Escape Room for ELT
I spy with MI5