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Why Escape Activities?
Escape rooms have gained immense popularity in recent years, and it’s not difficult to see why. These activities encourage individuals to collaborate and use problem-solving skills to reach a common goal, making them a great way to promote teamwork and logical thinking among students. By incorporating escape room-style activities in the middle school math classroom, students can work together to solve math-related problems while having fun.
I’m going to dig into this 6th Grade Math End of Year Escape to show how this type of activity could become a fun addition to your classroom.
What makes this escape activity different?
This activity does not require the challenges to be completed in any particular order. Students simply need to find all eight codes to “escape.” This makes the activity highly customizable and allows for differentiation and the ability to remove challenges based on time constraints. Additionally, teachers can make only one copy of each challenge and reuse them as groups finish.
This escape room is NOT…
It’s important to note that while this activity is designed for end-of-year fun, it should not be used as a comprehensive review of all 6th grade standards. The primary focus of escape activities is on collaboration and problem-solving, and while they do help reinforce content, they should not be used as a substitute for thorough test review.
Is there a lot of work involved for the teacher?
While escape activities do require some preparation on the teacher’s part, they are guaranteed to engage students and make learning fun. Teachers do not need any special materials to carry out the 6th Grade Math End of Year Escape, and even the more elaborate methods of “escaping” only require simple materials like manila folders, metal paper fasteners/brads, and mirrors. Take a look at this video if you want to peek inside the 6th Grade End of Year Math Escape. I go over all of the prep needed in detail. It is a 30 minute video so you’ll need time to get through it all!
What materials are needed?
Here’s the great thing – you don’t technically need ANY materials. WHAT? Other than paper and typical classroom materials (glue stick, scissors, a ruler), manila folders, a metal paper fastener/brad and a mirror, you aren’t required to have anything else.
There are three ways to “escape”. The first TWO ways involve only the materials listed above. Students can either check their codes by themselves using a digital lock (a Google Drive file) or by having you check their code. It is as simple as that!
The third method does include a lock box, lockout hasp and a variety of different locks (four 4 digit, two 3 digit and two alpha) that require materials but once you purchase them, you can reuse them over and over again.
What activities are used in Math Escapes?
The activity options are almost endless! Any skill can be turned into an escape style activity as long as the answer(s) can somehow be converted to a code. This is possible using ciphers, decoders, etc. or simple letter/number coordination.
Students can put together puzzles, complete worksheets, decipher messages, complete word searches or crossword puzzles, color by number, etc. There really are SO many different opportunities.
If you wish to create an escape style activity for your class and you want one challenge to lead to another you’ll need to make sure the code from one challenge somehow leads students to the next. The Math Escapes I have created do not have linking challenges so they can be used without worrying about having to complete all challenges or complete them in a specific order.
Take a peek
This short video takes you inside my 6th Grade End of Year Math Escape so you can get an idea of the types of resources that are included.
Wrapping it up:
In conclusion, escape activities provide a fun and engaging way to teach math and problem-solving skills. While they may require some preparation on the teacher’s part, the benefits of these activities in promoting teamwork, collaboration, and logical thinking among students make them well worth the effort
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