Puzzles. Cryptic riddles. Hidden clues. A challenging, exciting deadline. Who says energy efficiency can't be fun? Through funding from the Department of Energy State Energy Program grant, the Kansas Corporation Commission Energy Division, in partnership with Kansas State University's Kansas Energy Program, has created energy-related "break out" rooms to aid in energy education in K-12 schools. These activities can be used to support the Next Generation Science Standards, particularly the areas of energy and engineering design.
The break out rooms are actually portable kits that can be shipped or delivered to schools. The kits contain all the equipment, clues, props, instructions, and checklists required to set up the exercise. Since the kits are portable, teachers can put the break out room in any setting - an office, library, classroom, or conference room. The Kansas Energy Program has even set up the break out room in a hotel room. Once set up, teams have one hour to solve several energy-related clues and find combinations to five locks to "escape" the room (really, to open the lock on the last box). Students participating in the break out room become familiar with scientific instruments used by professionals in the energy industry (e.g., thermal imaging cameras, light meters, watt meters), which exposes them to core principals of energy auditing.
Although it was designed for upper-level high school students, the break out room has baffled adults too! The break out room can be used by professional groups as a team-building activity or suggested modifications allow the room to be used by middle school students. The first break out room has received such great feedback, additional energy-themed break out rooms are currently in development (energy auditing and wind energy). Learning and fun all in one package!
Check out the videos below to learn more about the Break Out escape room. Click here to find out how you can bring it to your classroom.