Battalion Park 2019

Another year, another epic space mission!

Last year, the grade 6 students at Battalion Park School made a Mission Control escape room, and an Area 51 landing sight as they created an escape room surrounding their learnings from the Sky Science unit. This year, the story and setting was left entirely up to the students with the only criteria being “space”.

Students from Mrs. Mason and Mrs. Moir’s classes chose to collaboratively create a spaceship that was spinning out of control towards the sun. The participants’ (the grade 5 students) task was to collect four pieces representing the earth’s lunar phases from around the ship to reorient themselves back towards earth!

There were a few things that stood out to me (Paul) this week about the wonder that was awoken at Battalion Park.

The first thing that struck me was the excitement and anticipation of the students! We often get the excitement from the teachers coordinating the residency, but the students often don’t really know what they are getting into - not at Battalion Park!

Last year all the grade 5 students got a chance to go through the grade 6 escape rooms. This set the stage so well for the students as they had fond memories of “that lit escape room” the grade 6s made for them the year before. It was so rewarding to see that we were able to awaken wonder not only in the grade 6 students last year, but also the grade 5s, and it stuck with them for over a year!

Last year’s ceiling was this year’s floor.

Because the students had a chance to experience the student-made escape rooms last year they came into the project with more excitement, motivation, and wonder than anyone could ask for. As a result, there were some pretty amazing ideas that came to fruition. One of which was the puzzle featured below, where you had to first find a code to unlock a vent in the spaceship (a cardboard tunnel made from a large trifold) and crawl through to the end with a stick that had a magnet attached to it. You had to use this stick to reach through the end of the vent to retrieve the keys sitting out of reach with just your arm - amazing!

Small magnetic stick key gif.gif

Thank you Mrs. Mason and Mrs. Moir for having us back again this year, and we look forward to next year with great anticipation!

Grandview Heights: One of a Kind

If you were to condense the The Grandview Heights story into one sentence it would go like this…

A government secret agent is above a museum spaceship traveling back to the wild west, and things are going wrong…

Wait a minute, that doesn’t make sense. Let’s start over, shall we?

At Grandview Heights, the grade 1-3 students tracked down artifacts in their Night at the Museum escape room; the grade 4-6 students found the location and identity of a criminal in Her Majesty’s Secret Service; and the grade 7-9 students proved their worthiness to be sheriff in the Wild West and saved a spaceship in Mission to Mars!

It is not often that we get to work with so many students over multiple weeks and see their engagement and enthusiasm for learning. It has been a great way to help launch our Edmonton and Northern Alberta programs by seeing the growth of students on multiple occasions! Take a look at some of the awesome creations so far.

We are headed back to the school for a third time this Spring to do a Mobile Escape first: we are working with the grade 7-9 students for a second time in one year! This time, the students get to build on their learning from the previous residency and even design their own theme. The students will need to present their theme idea and how it fits into the curriculum elements that they are learning about prior to starting the blueprinting, build and showcase process this May. Stay tuned for details!

"Good morning, Duffield School...."

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves the creation of an escape room designated “Mission: Impossible”. You may select to create any clues that you wish, but it is essential that you all work collaboratively to make it all come together. Ethan Hunt was on a top secret mission to save the world, but has gone missing. It is up to you to create an amazing escape room challenging others to solve your clues to track him down. You have 13 weeks of option classes to design your escape room and showcase the final product to the community. As always, should you learn something in the process, the better the outcome will be. And Duffield School, the next time you challenge your parents to solve your clues, please go a little easier on them. This message will self-destruct in five seconds.

Back in December, a group of Grade 7-9 students at Duffield School started an option class simply known as “Escape Room”. Little did they know that they would be spending the next 13 weeks building their very own Mission: Impossible themed escape. Escapers were challenged to track down Ethan Hunt who had been captured. They needed to find his whereabouts and start up his motorcycle to be able to rescue him before it was too late.

The students worked every week - once a week - to come up with the theme, brainstorm the clues, problem-solve the logistics of having others use the same space, construct and design all the elements, and finally showcase the finished escape room to the community in March 2019. They built in elements from their other studies including a laser maze, pulley system, electrical puzzle and various mechanical systems (including a motorcycle!) into the final product.

All this wonderful learning was made possible through Edmonton and Area Community Grants!

Sunalta School

Welcome to the amazing Sunalta School.

Why is it amazing you ask? For many reasons, I am sure, but here is one.

Grade 6 is a challenging year, with standardized testing often setting a tone of “must-do” in classrooms across Calgary. But at Sunalta, the Grade 6 teachers facilitate something remarkably creative: students build a cardboard castle in the classroom! (Totally rad.) Everything they do is linked to curriculum including math and geometry.

This is the kind of atmosphere that Principal Marie and her amazing teachers have worked to create in the school.

And that’s the atmosphere that we walked into on Day 1 of the week long residency program.

Students were so excited, many of them recalling last year’s escape rooms and mimicking clues that they remembered.

We got off to a great start with plentiful supplies and flurrious building:

All 3 room themes were firsts for us at Mobile Escape:

Candyland was built by the grade 1 and 2 students. They enjoyed making colourful creations, across different lands. Escapers were tasked with finding gingerbread pieces that would combine to make a password, granting access to King Candy’s Castle!

The Lego room was built by the Grade 3 and 4 students. They created giant blocks, minifigures and miscellaneous accessories. Escapers needed to retrieve power crystals to reboot their spaceship and get back to earth.

And the Grade 5 and 6 students built Azkaban prison from Harry Potter. Little is know about the prison in the books, so students used their imaginations including a Basilisk, Dementors, a hidden room and more. The final code for this escape room was both ingenious and tricky!

West Ridge School Grade 6 Residency

Jackie Morley Mobile Escape Room

Hello everyone! I’m Jackie! A few weeks ago I was able to go to Westridge Middle School and work with three grade 6 classes to build our own escape room.

My creative grade 6 students came up with the brilliant storyline of Mr. Green Missing Money. Mr. Green had invited 6 of his closest “friends” to his cabin, however one of these so-called friends stole billions of his dollars! Although the person got away Mr. Green is quite certain that the money has been hidden somewhere in the cabin. Using your best detective skills, you need to discover who stole Mr. Green’s money and where it is now.

I remember as a kid loving the evidence and investigation unit. I always found it exciting and these kids had the opportunity to learn about this unit hands on. They had the chance to create six suspect characters, give them fingerprints, handwriting samples and clothing swatches for their parents to figure out who left clues around the cabin. The briefcase full of money was found in the sink in the bathroom, and using the cleverly placed clues around the cabin, parents were able to find the missing money.

In the Westridge Comfort Inn parents and friends had to investigate where the bank robber went in the hotel.

The investigators had to first enter the hotel through my favourite creation from the week - a rotating door the kids made! Following the footsteps into the lobby, and an array of clues, parents were led to the elevator. In the shiny elevator, guests found themselves trapped, and having to solve a puzzle to find a hidden key in the elevator to escape into the hallway.

This is one tough burglar to catch!

Once guests were in the hallway, they had to discover which of the many doors the burglar was hiding behind. The kids had a blast making the hallway with plenty of doors, each leading to a potential place the burglar could be hiding.

The Fish Creek Story

There is so much to love about my job, but one thing I desire more of is prolonged engagement at schools. That’s why it was such a privilege to come back to Fish Creek School for a second year.

Last year’s grade 5s had had a chance to do the Grade 6 escape room. So, this year, when it was their turn to create an escape room, the excitement and expectation was already there. Some students even commented that - out of the entire year - they were most looking forward to this residency!

When the Mobile Escape team hit the ground on Monday, the students were off to the races, solving escape rooms and brainstorming ideas for their own themes: outer space and flight. We also benefitted from the incredible teachers at Fish Creek School who believe in what we’re doing, as well as in their own students. It made the week that much more enjoyable!

The students then spent almost an entire day blueprinting and working through the design process. Plans were made, adjusted, scrapped, advanced, improved and selected. This prepped everyone for 2 incredibly productive “build days” where the students created their respective escape rooms.

Friday was test, refine and showcase day, where Grade 2s, 3s, 5s and staff tried the rooms prior to an afternoon of having parents, siblings, friends and family try the rooms. What a blast!

There were a few highlights for me, but the thought that summarizes them all is this: every student succeeded. For those who traditionally do well in school, their intelligence shone through, no doubt. And for the students who struggle academically, they had so many diverse opportunities to showcase their value. As we love to say at Mobile Escape, “it’s not how smart you are, but how you are smart.”

Here are some incredible quotes from the Fish Creek Grade 6s reflecting on their week:

Thank you for letting us have this amazing opportunity to have freedom and use our imaginations and create.

You may have left, but the memories have stayed.

I think that the idea of certain groups doing certain jobs is a fantastic way to make work process go faster.

It realy taught me a lesson about always look twice, as you might miss something important.

I was really eager to shoot and edit a video, and well, I got my dream.

I cannot thank you guys enough for giving every student the opportunity to work on something larger than just their own small project. It really taught all of us to work together, and think of ideas that weren’t ever done before.

Citadel Park School

Two amazing weeks with Citadel Park School

Week 1 - Grades 2-4

The Grades 2, 3 and 4 students combined to create two different escape rooms: Night at the Museum and Pete’s Dragon. While the storylines were selected for them, the way the room played out was up to them. So what did they create?

One room featured a giant dragon named Elliot. The students made the fur, the barn he crashed out of, the truck tires, trees, and more. Every clue was designed to help participants know how to flip the switches in the correct sequence, opening Elliots mouth and waking him up.

In the other escape room, the students were able to create artifacts of many different kinds which all helped lead to the final clue of the escape room. Their creations included an enormous teepee, a dinosaur skeleton, and more. Here’s what it looked like:

Week 2 - Kindergarten and Grade 1

The Kindergarten and grade 1 students are always a treat to work with!

We are often asked, “What is the youngest age that can make an escape room?”

Upon learning that we can help kindergarten and grade 1 students create a version of an escape room, teachers and admin are often delightfully surprised!

The eight different k-1 classes worked together to create two escape rooms. One of the escape rooms followed the theme and storyline of the Pied Piper, and the other a retelling of Hansel and Gretel.

Pied Piper Escape Room

In the version of the Pied Piper the kids were told, the Pied Piper was promised a large sum of gold for getting rid of all the rats in the town of Hamelin. However, upon completion of his task he only received 1 small gold coin! As a result he played a magical tune to make all the kids wander off into Candyland behind the magical mountain until he got paid. So the parents were tasked with finding 4 gold coins in the escape room to “pay the piper” with and rescue their kids from behind the mountain before it was too late and their kids were gone forever!

Hansel and Gretel Escape Room

In the Hansel and Gretel escape room the students left “bread crumbs” behind as clues for the parents to find. These bread crumbs helped them solve the mystery and lead Hansel and Gretel to their escape from the witch’s house!

Both rooms were filled with student-made candies, forests, mountains and other wonder-filled imagery of fairy tales! It never ceases to amaze us how capable the little ones are when they are given a little extra guidance and instruction.