Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Teacher Tuesday - Escape Room

Y'all... I have HEARD you guys and am excited to share a bit more from my classroom this year.  Best practices, activities, planning, etc.  If you're not a classroom teacher I hope that you still find these posts interesting and can maybe even adapt some of the ideas for use with your kids at home ;)

The beginning of the year can be a lot of review in math classes - making sure that all the kids (especially kids who are coming from other schools) have the same basic skills required for the new concepts that we start tackling in subsequent chapters - and review can feel tedious and repetitive.  I decided to incorporate some review of integer operations into an "escape room" in-class activity and the students LOVED it which made me laugh because it was the same amount/types of problems that they would typically grumble about :)

I paired students up by drawing names from a hat and then gave each pair one of these sheets that I created in Word...

I had four different puzzles that had either numeric or alpha codes as answers and they had to take Puzzle One from the envelope, work together to solve it, come and show me their answer and if they got it correct they moved on to Puzzle Two.

 I'm not sharing the specific puzzles because they're resources that I've purchased/received from trainings or the TPT website...  but as an easy example you could make multiple choice questions and then students would put the letter of the correct answer into the blanks either making a code or a word.

This activity was a really big hit and the only prep I had to do was selecting the puzzles and creating the handout that they filled in.  I made the envelope "covers" in Word using a clipart image I found on Google and I'll be able to reuse those envelopes over and over again (just changing out the puzzles that go inside). 

I loved how much practice the students got and I swear it was like they didn't realize they were practicing.  This activity is great because depending on how many puzzles and how detailed the puzzles are the activity can take as much or as little class time as you need it to.

Central Tendency is another topic that can be a bit tedious when it comes to practice and this activity is another fun and easy way to get kids engaged and practicing kinesthetically.  I put kids in pairs or groups of 3 (sometimes individually if the class is small) and give them each one of these packets and a deck of cards.  They shuffle the cards then pick 7 off the top of the deck, write the color and value of those cards in at the top and then use those numbers as the data set to find mean, median, mode and range.

One of my favorite parts of this activity is how the kids can move the integers around and tangibly  get their hands on the numbers.  There are 4 pages in the packet and each page has the kids select a new set of cards that's one additional card allowing them to see how having even or odd sets of numbers affects the median and then finding the quartiles.

You can click  HERE to download the central tendency playing cards packet for your classroom.

Last year I shared a fun set of cards and set of word problems that I made for decimal operations practice and this year I added extra problems to make the activity a little bit longer (I needed something to fill a little more time) and thought I'd share it one more time in case you want to download the longer version :)  You can read about the activity  HERE and download the updated worksheet  HERE.

Happy Tuesday, friends!!!  Here's hoping you found an activity (or a couple!) that you can use in your classroom! :)


  1. This is what I miss the very most about teaching -- creating and running these fun LEARNING math games with my students. I loved watching them work together, move about the room, and discover concepts (sometimes not even the objective!) on their own. I hope your year continues to rock!

  2. I MAY have liked math if I had had a math teacher like you!!! LOL

  3. This is awesome! What a fun way to start off the school year

  4. Fun idea!!!!Thank goodness I teach Kdgn.....I could never figure this out!!! :-0

  5. I so wish you had been my math teacher 30(+) years ago.

  6. This is such a great idea! You make learning so fun! It's pretty incredible how kids attitude's change with learning through a game vs a worksheet.

  7. I love this escape room idea! I actually think this is something my college freshman might get into.


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