Lesson Spotlight: Scientists at Work – Zoology Escape Room Lesson

Who doesn’t love a learning curve! Well… I for one… Take three of learning how to create an online escape challenge here was a time-consuming but rewarding experience. There was a few tears and many cups of coffee but I finally think I’m getting the hang of this! In this lesson, I applied some of the changes I wanted to try from the last escape challenge. The biggest shift was moving more towards Google Forms and Google Drive. the results were… mixed…

The Lesson

Methodology:

W.A.L.T: Share the learning objective of the lesson with the group.

Assessing Prior Knowledge: Have you ever been to the zoo? What was your favourite animal and why?

Direct Teaching: Explain what a zoologist does. Explain the skills that they would need. Then explain the jobs that a zoologist would do (habitat design, conservation activities, education etc.).

Escape Room Briefing: Watch the video that sets the scene for the third escape room challenge. . Also have available the Google Drive link to the first of the challenges online.

Forensics Escape Challenge: Following the Google Drive links, watch the videos and solving the challenges in the Google Drives. They must work like a zoologist to work their way through the habitats in the locked down zoo. At the end, they will be able to make it into the control room.

How Did It Go?

Little by little I’m getting the hang of these escape rooms. I ditched the ‘worksheet booklet’ thing that I had been using up to now in favor of moving towards more automated ‘online worksheets’. I used a combination of Google Drive and Google Forms to let the class move through the challenges at their own pace.

Now while that sounded like a great way to get the class working independently, with less need for me to be ‘on-call’ to help, it didn’t really work out that way. There were lots of small issues with technology and unfamiliarity. The result was being ‘on-call’ even more than in the previous lesson! That said, the challenges were definitely more engaging, the resources that accompanied the challenges worked better and overall the engagement was better again!

What would I change?

We’re close! I can feel it! There are a few changes to be made for the next escape room. Luckily, I think I have fixes for most of them. I think moving everything, all the resources and links to a custom built Google Site is the way forward. If I do this, there is less messing about with links and jumping between Google Drive folders. I also need to figure out a way of getting the Google Site to give the class ‘clues’ automatically when they get a bit stuck! We’re getting there though…

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Rang Maher