Students save teacher in ‘escape room’

Published 10:33 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Jessica Arnold’s fourth-grade students worked frantically against the clock to save her during an escape-room activity at Northern Shores Elementary School on Tuesday.

The theme of the school year at Northern Shores is about having a growth mindset.

“A growth mindset is about the input, not the output, because if you keep working at it, the results will come,” said Northern Shores Principal Lori White. “We decided on the escape room theme to teach escaping the fixed mindset.”

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As the students entered the multi-purpose room they were surprised when their teacher was handcuffed for a “mindset misdemeanor.” Her handcuffs had six individual locks attached, and there were six groups of students working to get each key.

The students had a sense of urgency as they saw their teacher cuffed in a chair.

“The students are showing a real passion for this, and they are so motivated to work together,” Arnold said. “They are all engaged and actively trying to figure things out.”

Some of the tasks included graphing, English, logic and reasoning, and the students worked collaboratively to finish the work.

Each of the tasks featured themes they would see in their classroom, but they were all centered around thinking outside of the box and keeping a growth mindset.

“We think this keeps their interest,” said assistant principal Dr. Andrea Wilkins. “We debrief afterward and talk about what they did. They are really on it.”

The students worked so quickly and efficiently that they saved their teacher with five minutes to spare.

The experience was positive for the students, and they believed they learned a lot from the different activities.

“I learned that sometimes it’s OK not to know something, because you can always try and learn,” said Madison Knox, 10. “Sometimes there is another way to do something that might be better.”

Madison and her teammates were the first to solve all their puzzles and get a key to help unlock Arnold.

Despite the stress they felt trying to work through the problems, they enjoyed their experience during the escape room.

“I liked the puzzle we had to do because it really made us think outside the box and we had to try really hard,” said Adrianna Gilmore, 9.

Lainey Griffin, 9, thought that the key situation was much harder than any of the other puzzles because all the locks were unique.

“The puzzle to unlock the handcuffs was the hardest because one key didn’t open every lock,” Lainey.

White did the escape room with every fourth-grade class, and she plans to continue these flash lessons throughout the year.