STEM Matters: How escape rooms are helping to shape the next generation of thinkers


What are the top ten essential items that help develop an escape room experience?

James Sanders took a class of high school students to a local escape room in Edmonton, Canada and saw how immersed they became with the experience. Students worked together, conducted problem solving and most importantly had fun – but how to take this and bring it into a classroom? About five months ago, Sanders started to develop a modularized prototype by heading to the hardware store and Breakout Edu was created. He got toolboxes, different locks, blacklights, invisible markers and put them into wooden boxes. These boxes were then given to students who were asked to design any game they wanted to while utilising the tools given to them.

The first version of Sander’s prototype was created with the tools the students had nominated as the most essential. What were the top ten tools chosen?
1-4) Locks – key, number combination, letter combination
5) Blacklight (Author Note: a Flashlight should be considered too!)
6) Invisible marker
7) Timer
8) Hasp – a tool that allows a lock to be expanded into multiple locks
9) Big box – to hold items in
10) Small pencil box

At the moment Breakout Edu have prototype kits with these items and are selling them on their website to USA and Canadian customers. Or you can build your own escape room toolkit with the above list of ten items and register an application to become a beta tester to keep up to date with all the news. Plus if you register, you’ll be able to design/upload escape room games you’ve created with your own toolkit and have access to the growing list of escape room games that have been submitted by other users.

By developing a toolkit it turns any room into a game and helps students develop team work skills and also critical thinking skills – is the information relevant now? If so, is the information to be used now or later? When students become stuck at a particular point in a game they can ask for a hint from their teacher who sits back and watches the group work away at their current problem. Another idea raised in the Youtube video was to take away one minute of game time for every hint asked.

It’s really, really important to encourage current students to view the STEM field as an interesting field to pursue a career in and if we can turn an ordinary classroom into an experience where kids are more interested and more involved to learn more – it’s all for the better.

Breakout Edu:
Facebook Group:
– They also have Google Hangouts – check their Facebook page for details


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One thought on “STEM Matters: How escape rooms are helping to shape the next generation of thinkers

  1. […] first came across BreakoutEDU in August last year, where the team behind it took the fun of an escape room game, standardized its components and […]

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