Need to give your students a break from the “sit and get” method of classroom learning? Escape rooms (or as I like to call mine, “puzzle challenges”) are an exciting way to engage students in your content through gamification. In this activity students, travel around the room in pairs solving a series of 10-12 puzzles. I do these puzzle challenges in conjunction with two different mythology units: the Labors of Hercules and the Odyssey.
These puzzle types are as follows:
- Word scramble puzzles
- Fill-in-the-blank puzzles (akin to Wheel of Fortune)
- Pictograph puzzles (where picture s represent certain words)
Why Puzzle Challenges? Puzzle Challenges get students up and moving, encourage them to be competitive, and challenge their problem-solving skills. I always make my puzzle challenges a race to finish first and offer a small prize (like a mint) for the top three winning teams.
Create a Puzzle Challenge on Your Own: It does not take many resources to create one of these activities, so if you are considering it:
- Think of 10-12 puzzles connected to your content. (Don’t make the solutions so obvious that the students do not need to solve the puzzle to determine them!)
- Print them out on colorful paper, laminate them if possible, and hang them on the wall.
- Create a sheet for your students to record their answers on.
Or if you are teaching the myth of Hercules or the Odyssey and are interested in purchasing one of our ready-made puzzle challenges, they are linked below: