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Improve Problem Solving with a History Escape Room

Improve Problem Solving with a History Escape Room

Another week, another escape room at our homeschool co-op, and I have to say: I love watching as the kids grow their problem solving skills! This week the kids are saving history from being changed forever with our History Themed Escape Room.

The goal in this escape room is to solve history based puzzled in order to repair your time machine and stop whatever mischief the evil doer has planned. To do this not only will they need to repair their time machine, but they will have to know the location and the date the need to visit.

Supplies for a History Themed Escape Room

  • Printables
  • Various History Books (I strongly recommend having this book as it makes the timeline puzzle much easier or if you have your own Book of Centuries on hand it could help too)
  • World Landmarks toob (or pictures; see printables for exact ones)
  • A way to record and play back audio
  • Snap Circuits or something else they can assemble for a time machine
  • 2 programmable locks (1 3-digit and 1 4-digit)
  • 2 things to lock (suitcase, briefcase, microwave...you know the usual, Ha!)

Setting Up this History Escape Room

First things first, print out the printables! If your class has a tendency to write on things, laminate anything you don't want written on. Be sure to have the instructions printed, so you know what to program locks, etc.

Now get those locks programmed! 

The next thing you need to do before you gather everything and start setting up is to record the audio clue. I just used a recording app on my phone; basically anything that allows you to record audio and play it back will work as long as it is small enough to be hidden. 

Now it is time to set up the room. Distribute the books and landmarks through the room. I did this room with multiple age groups, and for the younger group (8-13 year-olds) I left them on the table, but for the high school kids, I hid the landmarks.

The timeline, Roman numeral math, Roman numeral math clue, hieroglyphic decoder, hieroglyphs and audio clue decoder were all hidden throughout the room.

I hung the flags all around the room.

In the 2 containers that were locked, I hid snap circuit pieces. The rest of the needed pieces I hid throughout the room. You can use the snap circuit configuration I included in the printables or make your own! 

Now that you have all your escape room puzzle pieces ready to go time to get the kids problem solving!

How to Solve the History Escape Room

As I said earlier, I used this escape room for 2 different age groups of kids. Both groups had 45 minutes to complete it. The 8-13 year old group had between 8 and 10 kids participating while the 14 and up group had only 4 kids. That number difference is the reason I was able to use the same room in the same amount of time with the different age kids. Still I hid pieces harder for the older group.

Like always, I had prepared for the kids a folder that included their instructions and any hint cards I wanted to give them. This is another difference int he age groups; I always gave the younger crowd a couple extra hints.

To solve the history escape room:

  • First they need to find all the hidden pieces.
  • Now they can work the puzzles in any order they want. The Hieroglyphic decoder is an easy place to start. Solving this will give them one of the lock combinations.
  • Next the Roman numeral math can be solved for the second lock combination. 
  • Now they have the locks out of the way and all the snap circuit pieces. They still have to discover when and where they are traveling.
  • Now they need that auditory clue. I used this clue by pretending my phone needed charged and plugging it in and starting the recording after the kids were already working. I played it at the lowest volume possible. 
  • Using the country they found they can look at the flags to find the month and day they need to visit.
  • They still need the year though which brings us to the timeline puzzle. Here the kids will match up the landmarks with the year they were built. Since I used the Timelines of World History book to make the puzzle, it is pretty handy to have to solve it.
  • Now they just have to record their answers and repair their time machine!

There were 2 parts in their history escape room that tripped the kids up. The first was the audio clue. The younger kids were too loud to really notice it, so I did increase the volume a little. Even with the increased volume, only a couple noticed anything odd, and they ignored it! Eventually I had to tell them all to listen very carefully for them to hear it.

The older kids fared a bit better. One of them heard it, but ignored it repeatedly because they just heard Charlie and thought it was someone talking to another student in the next door class. Eventually he put it together without a hint though.

The second puzzle that gave them trouble was the timeline puzzle. For the younger kids, I had to tell them the monuments went with the timeline, and they were able to work it from there. The older kids only needed me to point out that it was a timeline and there was a book with timeline in the title. They do have to use some logic to choose the landmark in the country they are headed to!

But logic and problem solving is what we want them to learn out of this hands-on homeschool co-op class, and I think it has really made an impact. It is so great to watch as they progress through the different challenges, and it is fun to see how different kids think. That is one thing I try to point out whenever they are stuck, that they need to be talking with their team mates because everyone thinks differently, so if they are stuck someone else might get it. Encouraging group cooperation is a great side effect of these homeschool co-op escape rooms! 

If you would like to set up a History Themed Escape Room for your homeschool co-op or group or even just your kids, you can download the printables from my subscriber resource library. You will need to be an email subscriber to get the password; you can join our weekly newsletter here.

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