Sunday, December 19, 2021

Digital Escape Room Puzzle Ideas

 I have been a fan of digital escape rooms in the classroom for a couple of years now. I like creating them and consider them a useful tool for review at the end of a unit. They also work very well for me as emergency subplans - students will be engaged and doing something worthwhile and I do not have to worry about setting things up, making copies or really anything else, other than assigning them in Google classroom.

All of this being said, I'm always on the hunt for puzzle ideas. For starters in order to keep it fresh, I do like to be able to challenge them with puzzles that they have not seen before. While they are always different because of content, there are only so many times that you can present a maze, clock or 4 x 4 grid.:

 


On the other, some of my students have figured out that if a code is only four letters and those letters repeat in a "clue item" they can pretty much spend their time guessing. In order to eliminate that, I do like to use substitution cyphers which do present a bit more of a challenge:

      

But again, these end up being overused in many escape rooms. If you are looking for some ways to create that your students may have not seen and/or that present a bit more of a challenge, I suggest:

Rebus Generator - This site generates a combination of emojis and letters for you that you can just screenshot and paste into a slide show. You just type your phrase and done. The one below, for example, says "Escape rooms are cool.":


On the same site as the Rebus above, there is also a maze creator that allows you to type a phrase and create a maze with it. That can be used to pose a question or give a clue to students.



Vigenere Squares - I got this spreadsheet template from lockpaperscissors. I love it because it is a spreadsheet template so modifications are easy and are always in my drive.

Online encoders: For encoding in a variety of ways, like morse code, I like Cryptii.com because I do not have to worry about creating an account or bother with adds. 

Learningapps: While this site is intended to create minigames, I often use it in my escape rooms since you can create an activity within it, and use what they call "Feedback" to provide an encoded message. For example, in this very simple camouflage or mimicry sort, the kids receive a message "encoded" with Cryptii in Morse Code.


Another example is this crossword whose answers reveal a scrambled word that should then be unscrambled and used as a code.

What other ideas do you have for your digital escape rooms? I'd love to hear about them :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Get to know your students with a Cellfie




The 2021-2022 school year is about to start. As I started to think about what I could have students do to introduce themselves and came across an idea posted by Ms. McCurdy on a facebook group I belong to. She posed the question:


That immediately brought to mind the plant and animal cell diagrams I drew a while back. After a bit of trial and error to make things fit and teasing out what each organelle could represent I came up with this activity where students can add text and use the paint bucket to color in the organelles.

Feel free to share with your colleagues.