Recently, I ran the ‘Escape Room Ancient Egypt’ for my Year 8 History Enrichment class. Prior to the big event students pre-taught a range of skills that would enable them to successfully communicate with each other, think critically about the information being presented and work collaboratively in teams to complete all the tasks. Students also worked creatively to make their Pharaoh’s Cipher Wheels, which they later learnt how to use, discovering exciting information about the Ancient Egyptian world.
On the day, the students were divided into four main groups. The first six entered through the tunnel, which was made from two long desks covered in fabric. These were followed by the next six, 5 minutes later, like a relay race. Once they were all in, the four main groups got together and started working collaboratively on the activities. I was dressed as “Cleopatronelle” (my name is Ronelle!) and dragged my husband along to dress as “Tutankham-john”. A member of our non-teaching staff photographed and videoed the entire two hour activity.
The six tasks covered key areas in the History syllabus, such as Geography, Significant Individuals, Gods, Death, Tutankhamun’s tomb and Archaeology. A mix of coding activities had to be solved in order for the students to escape the room. The students had an exciting and engaging two hours in the tomb.
I developed all the resources based on a mix of ideas gleaned from websites like “Lock Paper Scissors” and “Escape Room Tips”. I used PowerPoint to create the main components, and ‘screen printed’ and cropped these into a word document. This meant the components could be easily designed and manipulated but had ‘image integrity’ in the final product. I also used Photoshop to create my Cipher Wheel, which involved cleaning up the hieroglyphic alphabet and doing some fancy footwork in Photoshop. The final resources were printed on a mix of A4 and A3 sizes, as required, and the Student Booklet was created in A4 Booklet format.
I was extremely happy with the way the activity ran, and the excitement and concentration levels of the students was personally thrilling, as a teacher. I invited available teachers to come down to my Escape Room to check it out, so the students could see this project had a public audience. The librarian, my head teacher, immediate and other colleagues came along and were impressed with the frenetic activity taking place in what had previously been a boring, disused, art room. An extension of this could be have industry experts or expert school staff present students with awards for successfully cracking the codes completing the escape room.
The ‘Escape Room Ancient Egypt’ is specific to the History Syllabus, Stage 4, The Mediterranean World, Ancient Egypt, however the overall concept could be adapted to any other KLA such as Science, Geography, English and Visual Art. I am very happy to share my resources, please leave a comment below or get in contact with the Student Equity Team through email@example.com who can connect us.