End of the Year Escape

End of the Year Escape header with printed game pieces in the background.

As the end of the school year draws closer, I’m constantly looking for new ways to keep my students motivated and engaged. Last week I shared a blog post on how I’ve started using escape rooms in my fourth grade classroom. The post gives step-by-step directions in how to implement and organize a physical or digital End of the Year Escape Room. You can find that post here.

I wanted to let my students complete one last escape activity before the end of the school year, so I’ve created an Escape the School activity. This is quite a bit different from my other escape lessons, because it’s not directed toward a specific grade level or standard. Instead, this focuses on critical thinking and puzzle type activities that are suitable for multiple grade levels.

Getting Started

I store all of students’ materials in a manila folder. I create one folder for each of my groups, and I have four students in each group.

Inside the folder, I include a student direction page that gives an overview of each of the challenges in the escape activity. My students have learned that it is essential for them to read the directions carefully.

End of the Year Escape Room Challenges

In the first challenge, students solve eight rebus or word picture puzzles. Students are given a recording sheet and use the directions on the recording sheet to form the combination to open the first lock (physical or digital). I cut these out and store them in sandwich baggies inside the envelopes.

Once students complete the first challenge, they are able to begin the second activity in the packet, where they help the P.E. coach give ribbons for Field Day. In this activity, students complete a logic puzzle with two different parts. In the logic puzzle, students must determine which classes participated in which event in the school’s Field Day. Students must also discover what place each class was in on Field Day.

Clue 3 is definitely my favorite activity in the pack! Students must turn in their overdue library books, but to do so, students must identify the book’s title from the quote on the library card. I have provided more than five library cards for this activity. This will allow you to select the best quotes for your students. Also included are blank library cards where you can add a quote from the book of your choice. I included quotes from many of today’s popular children’s chapter books to ensure all students can complete this activity successfully.

The flexibly in this lesson means you will determine the code for the five color lock. I’ve provided a code wheel, so you can use this activity with a 5-color or 5-digit lock. To determine the code, place the first letter of each of the five book titles you’ve chosen in alphabetical order. For example, I plan to select the quotes from the books: The Land of Stories (T), Fish in a Tree (F), Hatchet (H), Walk Two Moons (W), and The Tale of Despereaux (T). The first letter of the first word in each book in alphabetical order forms the code: FHTTW. There are multiple possible hints or scaffolding for this activity. You could provide students a computer to search the quotes. You could also provide the books and let students know which chapters to look through or mark the pages with a sticky note.

Final Activity

In the final activity, students match the school supply icons to clean out their desk/locker/cubby. This is a challenging activity that will certain require students to demonstrate their growth mindset. It is important to have the cards cut out prior to the beginning the lesson. I also store these in sandwich baggies. Once students solve the puzzle, they will decipher the code to escape the school.

I love the challenge and fun this will provide my students during the hectic end of the year! You can see the activity here!


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