Escape Room - Classroom Style

Today I conducted my first escape room with the students.  For certain reasons (I won't bore you with the reasons) I had to give my final exam last week and we still have 3 weeks of school to go.  Therefore these remaining days are full of fun activities and test re-take days.

Obviously I can't lock the students in a room (or can I?), so the students need to unlock this container to symbolize exiting the room.  The students find clues around the room to unlock to locks and win.

Yep, that's a hasp with four different locks on it.  A directional lock, a 3-digit lock, a key lock, and a word lock.  All found on amazon.  

And of course, a reward for opening the box!

I also have my safe that I use for code-breaking partners activity (click here to read about that) and decided to utilize this for the activity.  

A few action shots:

Materials Needed:

Purchase: Hasp, directional lock, 3-digit lock, 4 letter word lock, key lock, lock box with code, a box that locks, and prizes.  

Make/Print and Laminate:

1) Propaganda Posters (click here).  These posters have directions (left, right, up, and down) on them for the students to use on the directional lock.  

2) Hint Cards.  I gave them up to 3 hints.

3) 4-digit hints.  This will open the lock box. The answer is 4962.

  • I am a four digit number.  My ones digit is even and not 0.
  • My hundreds digit is 5 more than my thousands digit.
  • If you double my ones digit, that is my thousands digit.
  • My tens digit is equation to the number of chairs at each table in the commons. (You will need to create this to be something equal to 6).

4) Number Cards.  I used 7 of them.  The mean of the numbers is 678 which is the code for the 3-digit lock.  I also put on each card "__ out of 7" so they knew they needed 7 numbers total.  The numbers are 752, 930, 1301, 433, 716, 299, 315.  

5) Letter Clues:

Print one color one: MEAN
Print on color two: SLOPE 
Print on color three: LINEAR
Print on color four: GRAPH

Make sure that only one of your words is a 4-letter word.  The other three words are distractors.  The 4-letter word, MEAN, lets the students know that they need to take the mean of the 7 number cards in order to unlock the 3-digit lock.  

Set up:

Put the prizes in the box that will have the hasp.

Put the directional lock, word lock, key lock, and 3-digit lock on the hasp.  

Place one hint card, the key, 1 of each color letter, and two number cards in the lock box.  Close and lock.  

Keep two hint cards and one digit hint card to the side and hide the rest around the room.  
So, you're hiding 5 number cards, 16 letter cards, and 3 digit hint card.  
Remember to post the propaganda posters in order for the directional lock.  

During Class:

Here's the tricky part; you only want about 5-8 students working on this at a time.  I'm lucky enough to have a para-educator that has her teacher certification and takes the remaining students to another room.  

Before I set them loose, I tell them that they are "locked" in a room and in order to escape, they need to unlock the box with the hasp.  I tell them where to not look in the room (like my desk, inside the garbage can, etc).  I hand them the two hint cards and the one digit hint card and let them begin.  They have one class period to "get out".  

The Results:

This was the first escape room I've ever planned so I wasn't sure what to expect.  All classes unlock everything within 30 minutes.  I suppose it's better to have time left over rather than frustrate the students.  Plus it gave me time to set up for the next class.  

Here's what I overheard the students saying:

"If math class were like this all the time, I would participate."
"I feel like a secret agent."
"That was actually fun."
"Make it harder next time."


  1. I saw something about BreakoutEDU on twitter a few weeks ago, and immediately began planning one for my students semester review. We will be doing our first one next Tuesday. Did you make up your own game or did you use one from the sandbox?

    1. I made my own game. I was looking through the sandbox and nothing seemed to fit just right. I figured with all that time I spent looking for one, I could just make one.

  2. This is great. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love this idea so much! I purchased all the components and I'm going to try to replicate this the week after I give the final exam! Thank you for sharing!

  4. I participated in BreakoutEDU at the GAFE conference...ours was very hard took about an hour to solve...very entertaining. Thank you for sharing. I wanted to do a Radical Halloween Party...this would be perfect.

  5. THis is excellent! Do you have a google doc that you would share with me? I am doing my first Breakout ever tomorrow and maaaaan did set up take a long time but now I will have it forever and would gladly share.

    1. No, sorry. I can't even seem to find it on my laptop. I wonder if I didn't save it. :(

  6. This looks great but at what point did they simplify radicals?

  7. As there any materials that go with this lesson you could share?

  8. Did you find your lock box on amazon too? I would love the link if you have it. Thank you so much for posting

    1. I actually purchased mine at Walmart, but here is a link to a similar one on amazon:

  9. Thank you for posting. Of course, it is possible to get math students moving, thinking and flexible. I taught Science for many years and have many labs and activities in engineering. Working in a math class in the fall, I was wondering how to keep that hands-on aspect in my classes. You have started my own project-based creative juices flowing.


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