How to run a Stile Escape Room

This tutorial is designed to help you plan and run a successful escape room in your classroom.

Escape rooms are a creative and engaging way to challenge your students with puzzles, trivia facts, and scientific knowledge. Give yourself a day or two to prepare before you run the activity, as there may be physical materials to set up in your classroom.

This article assumes some prior knowledge of how to run Lessons using Stile. If you are brand new to Stile or if you need a refresher, have a look through our Getting Started series first. Links to additional tutorials will be included throughout this article if you would like some extra guidance.

👀Remote Note: Read these extra tips if you are teaching remotely.

Follow the steps below to run a great escape:

 

Select your Escape Room activity

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Add the Escape Room unit to your Subject and hide all Lessons

Choose which escape room to run. If doing this remotely or if physical supplies are limited, use the Remote version (if available). We chose the Science Week 2021 activity for the sake of this tutorial.

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Review the activity and teaching notes

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Every escape room starts with Teaching notes, which are visible to you in Prepare mode. They are not visible to students, and are hidden in Teach mode.

Carefully read the Teaching notes at the start of the Lesson. These include an approximate duration, running order, and instructions on how to prepare your materials.

👀Remote Note: Edit the note to include a link to your video conference room so you have quick access to it on the day of the event.

Review the rest of the activity, watch the videos, and explore the buttons in the simulation to get a feel for how everything works. You can enter the answer codes (available in a downloadable PDF) into the simulation and watch the victory video, or let time run out and watch the alternate ending. The simulation will restart when you refresh your page.

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Prepare your materials

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Collect your materials, print the challenge and clue cards, and prepare stations in advance according to the instructions in the Teaching note. Complete the Risk assessment, if relevant.

👀Remote Note: Challenges are embedded in the remote version's Lesson and no materials are necessary. Save the Clue cards PDF to your computer and have them ready to access during the event. If you don't want your students to jump ahead to the challenges while you cover the pre-activity information, you can prepare by splitting the Lesson into two. Duplicate the lesson and delete half the widgets in each copy so that part 1 is the pre-activity information and questions, and part 2 is the escape room activity. Keep part 2 hidden until you are ready to start the countdown clock! 

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Run the activity

Use Teach mode to take your students through the introductory information and questions. Play the event video for everyone to watch, and then start the countdown clock! Students can come to you with their challenge solutions to enter into the simulation. When all solutions have been entered correctly (or when time runs out) a second video will play to celebrate the success or commiserate the defeat.

 

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For an additional challenge you can invent a catastrophe partway through the countdown clock (oh no, the redundant safety systems have failed!) and reduce the time they have left using the -min button in the simulation.

Depending on the size of your class, you may want to break your students into groups to complete the challenges cooperatively. Each group can present their challenge(s) and their solutions after the escape room is completed. 

👀Remote Note: Escape rooms can be done individually or in small groups. You can create breakout rooms for your groups to work through the challenges together - instructions for this vary depending on your preferred video conferencing software, so please consult their help centre!

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Optional: Make it competitive

If your students are the type to thrive in a more competitive atmosphere, you could incentivize the activity with some prizes for the student or group who successfully complete the escape room first. Assign one member of each group the responsibility of filling in the solutions on their laptop, as the group makes their way from one challenge to the next. The first group to unlock the victory video wins! 

Since this will put the countdown timer in the hands of the students, as well as the +min and -min buttons, give your students an actual time penalty for using Clue cards. Give them the Clue card to complete the challenge, and then stop them from moving to the next challenge for a set amount of time. You can use an online timer to keep track of these "penalty boxes."

 

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👀Remote Note: Determine a winner by looking at who submitted their answers first. The challenge solutions are not automarked, so students will not be able to get feedback from submitting and taking back their work. Check your Markbook for submission timestamps. 

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