Escape to a Shared Experience
“Escape Rooms” are one of the hottest trends in entertainment right now. What is an escape room? It is a form of “shared experience” entertainment where you and your friends are locked in a windowless, themed room and have one hour to escape. It could be the library of a haunted mansion, the rundown hotel room of a mysterious stranger or a top secret laboratory in the Arctic. Together, it’s your job to discover clues cleverly hidden throughout the room to help you escape.
Escape rooms are wildly popular right now, especially with Millennials. The appeal is obvious: the opportunity to live out a sort of real-life version of a mystery movie. The clues can be fiendishly hard to figure out, and working together can be a great thrill for friends, co-workers or even students. In fact, escape rooms are one of the top team building exercises going right now. And it makes sense that people crave these shared experiences. We live in a connected age where everyone is individually buried in their phones, messaging, texting, viewing videos and staying current on social media. We are together yet alone. Escape rooms bring people out of the digital world and re-connect them with real, live people in three-dimensional space. We, as humans, need that.
Escape rooms, just like the educational materials provided by The National Theatre for Children, align with the 4 Cs of 21st Century Learning; they are creative, force you to collaborate and communicate, and challenge you to use your critical thinking skills.
Did you know that you could use the escape room concept for your classroom to teach any subject? By setting a time limit and gathering some locks and boxes, you can construct creative clues to teach math, language arts, science and reading for any age level. The younger the students, the easier the clues. This concept could transfer the ownership of learning from you, the teacher, to the students, making it easy to observe how learners approach problem solving and apply their knowledge, all while using the 4 Cs. Students have the opportunity to learn by failing; every unsuccessful attempt to open a lock forces the students to try again.
The National Theatre for Children has also used theatre, the oldest “experiential” entertainment, to teach, entertain and inspire students, teachers and families for 40 years. We put real, live actors in front of real, live students in real, three-dimensional spaces to perform programs to teach kids about science, conservation, health, water and STEM. Our shows have an impact because the actors forge a connection that cannot be denied. It’s hard to ignore two amazingly talented, funny and caring actors who are right in front of you and your friends. It’s the ultimate “shared experience.”
Teachers, you can find out if we’ll be performing “shared experiences” in your area by going to www.nationaltheatre.com and entering your school zip code.