education innovation

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!

Nose Creek School

How do you make an escape room with nearly 1000 students?

You don’t!

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

Choo choooo!

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.

Congratulations NCS!


Calgary Christian School - Mobile Escape Room Residency

 
 

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!

 
Mobile Escape Room Residency - Thor.JPG
 

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.

SJAM's Math Escape Room Residency

 
 

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!

SJAM Math Escape Room.jpg

Battalion Park's Escape Room Residency

It was a wonder-filled week of “space exploration” for two grade 6 classes at Battalion Park school!

On Monday the students began the week by completing three escape challenges designed and built by Mobile Escape as well as experimenting with creating their own codes and puzzles.

Tuesday through Thursday the students became the makers! The grade 6 Sky Science curriculum was the focus for these students as they created clues riddles and puzzles that made up their escape rooms (Area 51 and Mission Control) as they demonstrated their understanding of the unit. From navigating constellations and stars to find codes, to understanding lunar cycles and the order of planets; the students created an interactive experience for their peers to solve.

On Tuesday the students began exploring the theme and story of their room in order to brainstorm the various clues they could create based on their Sky Science knowledge. A variety of physical puzzles and mind bending riddles began to shape the rooms.

Wednesday was filled with building! Out comes the cardboard, tinfoil, buttons and other materials necessary for creating space-themed escape rooms. The stars were the limit as these imaginative and creative students turned simple cardboard boxes in to flight simulators, control panels, jet packs, and rocket ships!

Thursday morning consisted of putting finishing touches on the two rooms along with testing it to make sure that everything worked the way the students imagined. Adjustments were made and props were fixed before the final showcase. That afternoon all the students from grades 4 and 5 had a chance to come see, and experience all the learning that took place for the grade 6 students over the week. The pride on the faces and in the body language of the students in Ms. Zietz' and Mrs. Moir's grade 6 students was priceless as they operated their very own escape rooms.

Here are some thoughts about the residency shared with us from the teaching staff at Battalion Park:

"We have worked all year long to support the students in being able to work together effectively to solve problems and this experience was awesome as it highlighted all the skills and strategies we have been building! [The Mobile Escape] program allows for so much voice and choice from the students. That makes it a very meaningful experience for them. It is an exciting topic but [Mobile Escape's] program really brings out the problem solving and teamwork skills of the students!"