How do you make an escape room with nearly 1000 students?
You make 6 escape rooms.
6 Different Mobile Escape Rooms
In our largest and longest-ever residency program to date, 4 different Mobile Escape staff worked with every student at Nose Creek School over the course of 4 months to create 6 different escape rooms inside the school:
Grade 9 - Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster
Grade 8 - Da Vinci Museum Heist
Grade 7 - City’Scape Calgary 2.0
Grade 6 - Art Gallery and Crime Scene
Grade 5 - Kodiak Creek Express - Runaway Train
Grade 4 - Robot Rocket Launch
The Grade 8s and 9s went first and set the bar high!
Grade 9 - Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster
The grade 9 students were introduced to their electricity unit by creating puzzles to power up Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. In the version of the story the grade 9 students created, tourists stumbled upon Dr. Frankenstein's lab but then the door was locked behind them. The tourists had to look through Dr. Frankenstein’s notes in order to find clues and figure out how to generate the power needed to bring the monster to life so that he could bang the door down for them!
One of my (Paul) highlights from working with these grade 9 students was working with the PLP students. It was a beautiful display of their incredible abilities. The PLP class created a unique puzzle where the “tourists” had to find find a battery in order to complete a circuit (which the students created themselves!) illuminating certain lights that revealed new information required to power up the monster. Enjoy!
Grade 8 - Da Vinci Museum Heist
This Da Vinci escape room was a theme never done before, and it took a ton of brain power and teamwork to pull it off.
The students were both learning about Da Vinci’s inventions while simultaneously trying to turn them into clues… not easy!
Some highlights from the room include a stunning sketch of Mona Lisa and a functional crossbow. Great job grade 8s!
Then, it was time for the Grade 6s and 7s to show off their ingenuity.
Grade 7 - City’Scape Calgary 2.0
Let’s build a city and turn it into an escape room! The grade 7 students created “Calgary 2.0” where things had gone astray and power needed to be restored. Specialists (the parents, family and friends) were brought in to help the Mayor, solve the puzzles, and bring the futuristic city back on-line.
Grade 6 - Art Gallery Crime Scene
The grade 6 students were tasked with creating an escape room linked to their Evidence and Investigation unit, more commonly known as “The CSI unit”. In the story of this room the NCS Art Gallery had an attempted robbery. The priceless gem was taken from its secure pedestal, and the thief got away. Detectives (the parents) were brought in to inspect the crime scene looking for evidence to narrow down the list of suspects and make an arrest in order to reclaim the gem.
And last, but certainly not least, were the grade 4s and 5s.
They might be smaller and less experienced than the older students, but they make up for it in gusto!
There was some fabulous building going on as the students in each grade sought to accomplish some pretty ambitious builds: including a rocket ship and a train, each big enough to get inside.
Grade 5 - Kodiak Creek Express
Uh oh! The conductor’s asleep and there’s a bridge out ahead!
Your job is to stop the train (made by the fabulous Grade 5s) from barrelling off the tracks into the canyon below.
One of my (Eric) highlights from this residency was the animation that the students made to signify the train going down the tracks.
There were also multiple rooms on board our train: first class, second class, and cargo. This created a really cool dynamic and resulted in both a fun but extremely challenging escape room.
Grade 4 - Robot Rocket Launch
The whimsical Grade 4s developed their own storyline: a mad scientist trying to take over the world with robots! The only way to stop him? Launch a rocket into space with a LOT of water on board, and drop it on the robots to short-circuit them… makes sense, right?
Well it did to these little gaffers! Which is why they were furiously building robot parts, diagrams, a rocket, and a well!
A Huge Thank You
The staff at Nose Creek School deserve a huge thank-you and congratulations. They all worked so hard and created such wonderful work. The teamwork between students was incredible, and this culture existed at the school before we got there thanks to the amazing staff.
A special thank-you to Sarabeth who was brave enough to believe this was all possible.
Welcome to St. Philip Fine Arts School, where the arts are encouraged and making things is second-nature to all 450 students. This was evident to the Mobile Escape staff as we embarked on the first-ever Catholic school escape room residency.
The grades 5 and 6 built a dungeon in Asgard where Thor’s hammer rested waiting a worthy wielder; the grade 3s and 4s built an outer space rocket launch complete with a lunar rover; and the Kindergartens, 1s and 2s (believe it or not) built a gigantic escape room in the Pied Piper theme.
The young ones were fantastic, showcasing just how much they are capable of. They made a giant mountain, castle, candyland, and more. Way to go you guys!
And to top it all off, St. Philip had their excellent work showcased on National TV. The media coverage may have been partially responsible for the incredible turnout we had on showcase night where the school was filled shoulder-to-shoulder with dumbfounded parents trying to solve their children’s escape rooms.
What a truly fantastic experience for all!
To learn more about our residency program click here.
Welcome to the Mystery of Mjolnir Escape Room!
I (Eric) visited Calgary Christian School on Day 1 of the residency - Acclimation Day. Many of the Grade 8s had never done an escape room before so it was fun to listen to Adam explain the medium, as well as witness them get to try both our rooms and a Tabletop Escape Game.
And then I was off to Nose Creek for a few days while Adam continued the residency. The students quickly developed elaborate ideas of ships, trees, thrones, and walkways. Adam let me know they had lots of ideas and the build was on.
I returned to the school on the evening of the 4th day to witness what they had made, and wow, was I impressed. All their creations has hidden compartments and tricks that only the observant would notice. In fact, one time they stumped me on a puzzle that was very “simple” - we even use that style of puzzle in our escape rooms!
It was clear by the atmosphere that evening - the proud smiles, the concession stand, the engaged students - that the escape room meant a lot to them. They worked very hard and did an excellent job.
Way to go Calgary Christian School!
This original creation was made by the Grade 8 classes at Calgary Christian School during the 4-day intensive Mobile Escape Room Residency. The video depicts several clues and puzzles, which helped the participants collect several artifacts, enabling Thor's mystical hammer to finally be wielded again.
As one of the final projects of the year, 6 classes of Grade 7 students at 12 Mile Coulee School in Calgary, AB participated in the Mobile Escape Residency program. Three of the classes contributed their skills, knowledge and expertise toward the creation of one of two fully operational escape rooms, built right inside the school.
There was Battleship, with a giant board of the island to be defended from invading pirates, missile detection system, and shipwrecked clues hidden throughout the room
And there was the museum, with modern art of many kinds, a giant Jackson Pollock-esque splatter painting, and an impressive security system around the coveted statue.
We're happy to say that some of the artwork coming out of this residency was the best we've ever seen.
Check out this original painting!
And this sliding puzzle on Instagram!
Grade 4 Students at Battalion Park School in Calgary, AB created their own escape room inside the school. Over the course of one week they tried professional escape rooms, prototyped their own clues, blueprinted an escape room, implemented their ideas, and worked collaboratively between 3 classes to complete a fully-functional escape room!
The First week of February brought a new adventure to Grade 6 students at Fish Creek School as three Grade 6 classes challenged themselves to build three escape rooms. For us at Mobile Escape we were filled with excitement as two of the classes reimagined two of our past escape rooms Vanishing Villains and Forensic Frenzy.
We began our week blueprinting with each class, getting all their ideas onto paper and working with the students to pick which clues and pieces were going to be built and solved to create their own epic escape room. This process can sometimes be tough but the students all committed to listening to each other and being diplomatic as ideas were discussed and decided on. The rest of the week, teams were created and students began to divide and conquer each element that needed to be planned and built.
The Class bringing Forensic Frenzy to life rose to the occasion using ideas from past escape rooms and what they had been learning in their Evidence and Investigation unit. The clue team created hidden messages using morse code and hiding evidence in safes, briefcases, and an amazing handmade filling cabinet that the builders created. Our décor team created posters and a full size periodic table to make their space feel like a lab. Students even traced each other in tape on the floor to create a chalk-body-outline look.
Vanishing Villain’s featured a handmade chandelier and bookcase that was also a hidden door for them to escape out of. There was also a Puzzle clue that once they found all of the pieces revealed a message in black light.
F.A.M. (Famous Art Museum) featured a full video intro and we were amazed at all of the art the students created to bring a museum to life.
At the end of our residency week, people filled the halls as they lined up to experience the escape rooms. We had many escapes as parents and guardians tested all the clues and experienced everything the students had created. The most exciting part for us was standing with the students as they took over and led guests through the rooms.
Their pride and excitement showing off what they created was contagious!
Math can tell a story...
I (Adam) am going to start by saying that I like math. Many of you reading may think that I am a little strange for saying that and probably cannot relate. A lot of people have told me math is hard to understand or they cannot see how they are going to use the concepts that they are learning. Let me do something that I love to do and imbed some math concepts into a bit of a made-up story:
Imagine that you and 2 friends have just completed the most epic of adventures and have decided to celebrate by ordering a pizza. Picture this is not an ordinary pizza, this is a one-in-a-million pizza. This is one of your favourite types of pizzas from your favourite pizza spots. The 3 of you plot the fastest route on the map, calculating the distance and time it will take you travelling at the pace of a very brisk walk. Finally, after your much-deserved wait, you arrive back home. You and your friends smell the wonderful aroma, wonder the probability that it will be as great as last time, and open up the box to discover 8 pieces of pizza staring back at you. Doing some mental math, you quickly discover that one of the 3 of you will be short-changed on pizza. How can this be easily remedied? You think back on circle geometry…
Many of you may now try doing more math to cut up the wonderful pizza into a number of slices that can be split easily between 3 people, but I have a better idea. This is a story remember, so why not make it a bit more interesting. To continue from above:
Before you do any calculations on angles, you remember what you have stored away in your living room posing as the coffee table. This item just fit perfectly there. It has the same dimensions and surface area. Introducing your time machine! You lead your friends away from the pizza and introduce them to this amazing machine. They help you clear off the magazines and you tell them to stand back at least 1.2 metres. You now have enough room and start-up the time machine using the pull-cord on the go-kart method. After a couple of pulls (these never work on the first try) the time machine kicks into gear. With the machine being calibrated in seconds, you quickly calculate how long it was to go back to before your amazing adventure, enter the number into the dial and POOF! You go back in time and invite a fourth friend on your epic adventure because it is better to share something cool with more people. This time, you decide to order 2 pizzas…
Stories, thinking outside the classroom, student ideas, hard work, and sharing experiences with each other all can make something seen as boring or irrelevant for most people, such as math, way more interesting. Now, let’s imbed Math into something a little more relevant:
My first day on the job with Mobile Escape also just so happened to be the first day of the Sir John A. MacDonald residency. This was no ordinary residency. This residency involved the entire school: 3 grades, 647 students, and 10 days to complete three separate MATH escape rooms. The students did the majority of the work. First experiencing an escape room, then conceptualizing their own rooms, designing the clues based off of their math curriculums, building the final products and finally sharing the creations with their friends and families. This experience turned out to be something special, where math took the forefront at the school. I like to use the term #awakenwonder to explain what happened over those ten days. It is quite a story, best not told by me, but from the perspective of the students and teachers themselves… stay tuned for a video update!