design thinking

Growing a New Mindset at Dovercourt School

Building and showcasing an escape room in 4 days is not an easy task for students and teachers to undertake.

The majority of students taking part in a Mobile Escape project like this have never experienced anything remotely close to the size and scope of what they are embarking on.

You can see it: Day 1 is filled with wide-eyed amazement and wonder at how they (the students) are going to complete the difficult task.

How can 280 people work together to build not one, but two escape rooms in less than a week of school?

Diving into the project head-on is the only way to go. The students from Kindergarten to Grade 6 at Dovercourt School embraced the challenge in front of them. They were not afraid of the difficult task, making mistakes and learning from them. They came up with creative solutions to their problems, doing their best to improve and, most importantly, kept going when things got tough. It just so happened to be a great example of students learning how to have a growth mindset through a design thinking process.

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The Kindergarten to Grade 3 students built “Up, Oops and Away”, based off of the movie “Up!”. Their parents were transported to Iqaluit, where their vacation plans went astray and they ended up in the North rather than on a beach in Hawaii. While on vacation their pet dog had ended up with a dogsled company. To get their dog back, they must track down his location by solving clues based off of the needs of plants and animals, measurement, magnets, and Iqaluit while building with a variety of materials.

The Grade 4-6 students built “Wall-E’scape”, where parents have left Earth and are now aboard the spaceship AR7-49 holding all of Earth’s population. To get back to Earth, they must track down the only living thing locked away in the small robot, figure out how to keep it alive for the trip home and shut down the AUTO-pilot keeping them at bay. All of this by solving clues based on waste in the world, fractions, classroom chemistry, electric circuits, sky science, evidence and investigation.

Wow, did the growth mindset and design thinking of the students ever pay off! By the end of the week all 280 students collaborated to have their hand in one of the two escape rooms.

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!