Escape from Scare City
In this mostly digital escape room students use their knowledge of basic economic principles (scarcity, marginal thinking, opportunity cost & human capital) to free the characters of Stranger Things from the grips of the Mind Flayer! All of the files you need to play the game are included here. If you wish to add the "real life" component you will need some additional supplies and set up which will be addressed at the end of this plan.
This may seem like a lot of setup, and it is. It is well worth the effort. Plus, I did most of the hard work already. You don't have to make the puzzles, files or videos. You just update some links, set up some locks in your room and have a great day of teaching!
-MAKE A COPY of the Puzzle Clues Google Form.
-Update the Puzzle Clues link on slide 2 with the link to the newly copied Google Form. If you do not do this then student responses will go to me. You will never see them. The game can still function, but you will not be able to see student work or update anything on the Form. Make a copy and update the link! NOTE: There is an invisible box currently over slide 2 so if you try to click on the link to update it, you can't. Drag the box out of the way, update the link and return the box.
-Provide presentation links to the Scare City game file by replacing "Copy" in the URL with "Preview"
Change :https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx/copy?usp=sharing to
-Or print copies of the puzzle sheets from the printable version of the file for each group. You will still need to give students access to your updated Google Form somehow.
-Prepare the class computer with sound and projection to the play the Title Card and Story Intro.
Play the Title Card and Story Intro video on the class screen.
Divide students into groups. I've found 4 is the optimal number for Breakout activities, but any size should work for this activity.
Read the story set up and game instructions on slide 2.
Click on the puzzle link on slide 2 and have students do the same.
Read the story set up and game instructions at the top of the Google Form.
Tell groups to start solving the puzzles. Remind them than reading EVERYTHING is key to being successful.
Optional: Put a 25 or 30 minute timer on the screen (depending on class length). Alternately, you can just put a timer up for the last 5 minutes. Here's a Stranger Things themed one! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHs2xNmDENE
As students work on the puzzles make yourself available to give clues (or misdirection if you so choose!) I also like to call out publicly whenever a group solves a puzzle. I don't say which one they've solved, simply that Group A has solved a puzzle. This tends to drive a bit of tension in the other groups.
Once students have solved the 6 initial puzzles on the Google Form you have some options. I like adding a couple of physical puzzles as it adds a fun ending. See the Post-Show below for more information. If you do not want a physical puzzle, you'll want to update the confirmation message in the Google Form. Currently, it contains the clue to the physical puzzle. You can change it by opening the Form, selecting Settings, selecting Presentation, then Edit next to confirmation message. Something like, "You did it! Yay."
That said, I highly recommend adding a physical component to end your Escape Room/Breakout games. It adds a sense of excitement and energy as teams race to complete the final puzzles. For this game, there are two steps to the physical puzzles.
First, you will need a locked box with a 4 number combination lock. The combination to that lock should be found in the digital puzzle that students gain access to once they've solved the initial 6 puzzles on the Google Form. I always put that extra puzzle in the response box on the form (as you can see in the Form now.) In this case, the puzzle lock is set to 1781 (because I already had it set there for a Yorktown puzzle in another Breakout). Students find the answer by reviewing the puzzle clue on the Google Form response page and then returning to Nancy's history report in the game file.
Once they've opened the box students will find this note explaining what to do and a black light flashlight. (I included multiple flashlights so more than one group can complete the final puzzle.) The note leads them to enter the Upside Down. I have one of my classroom posters flipped upside down for the day of the lesson (and often a few days before as a teaser.) Behind that poster, written in invisible ink is the final clue:
When combined with the instructions in the letter, students are directed to tinyurl.com/eddie1986 which has a closing video and a celebration screen. They are instructed to visit this website on the class computer so all groups will see (and more importantly hear) the final video.
I then provide the winning team with whatever reward I happen to have around (usually some kind of candy.)
Closing with this excitement leaves students more willing to debrief and discuss the puzzles and learning from the game. That should be your final closing.