inquiry-based

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!



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.

Crazy Creative

Last week Mobile Escape put on several field trips at schools in and around the Calgary area. While it was a lot of fun having the kids try our escape rooms, what was even more exhilarating was the creations they came up with: codes and ciphers, riddles and puzzles, and even escape room prototypes! Here's some of their amazing creations:

Thought Leader: Grace Miao

We spoke with Grace Maio in April. She’s a Grade 4 teacher at Grant MacEwan School. We asked her about inquiry-based learning and what she thinks of gamifying the classroom. 

 

Hi Grace, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

No problem.

 

You’ve checked out Mobile Escape before, yes? What do you think?

I really appreciate the concept of connecting something so fun, authentic and hands-on (like an escape room) to the curriculum. I think a lot of the kids struggle because curriculum can be boring or hard to connect. I think Mobile Escape is a cool approach.

 

Is inquiry-based learning something you focus on at your school?

Our school is very inquiry-focused. Inquiry is discipline-focused where teachers are planning lessons around how an expert in that field approaches the problem at hand. Students are learning through the lens of a junior version of such an expert. Inquiry-based learning tries to find a connection between curriculum and the real world. For example, teaching students how to blueprint makes them feel like a junior version of an engineer: authentic, real-life based. Not just knowledge-based. Students learn better when they choose to engage. We introduce a topic with a hook, maybe a video, or we’ll create something to get them interested.

 

How has your Masters program affected your teaching?

I did the first year for personal growth where I learned about wellness. In the second year I took a creativity course which has broadened how I approach teaching. I’m not spoon-feeding so much. Students go home and research and explore ideas on their own, find it in the library, it’s neat. It’s made me not focus so much on the curriculum. I personally think if you teach the basic skills, the learning will happen; it’s all correlated anyways. I am more focused on the front end of the curriculum rather than each specific learning outcome. If I can have a conversation with kids, they may take it off topic, and that’s part of learning.

 

What do you think of gamifying the classroom?

I’m all for it and it aligns well with kids today. Kids are teaching me how to use Snapchat! I think gamification is a great idea, but there are a lot of traditional teachers—maybe half of us? How are you going to engage those teachers to change a pedagogy they’ve had for 20 years? I don’t know!

 

What would you think of an escape room residency?

We’ve done art and dance residencies. The kids like looking up to someone else, in a balanced learning experience that’s not so paper-and-pencil. I really like the idea of the kids creating their own escape room. After all, when you can share an idea you really get it.

 

Any final thoughts?

It’s awesome that you guys are promoting critical thinking. It’s something that kids really need nowadays. Kids have become zombie-like. Your approach is very natural: asking questions. If you’re stuck in a room, you have to ask questions to get out.

 

Oh, and you should give them lab coats.

 

Great idea.

Thanks. This is really cool!