Finally, after a six week learning unit heading back in time – yes, 100 million years ago – the students are ready to escape from Dinosaur Park! We have been studying dinosaurs, learning about the different theories of their extinction, and how this information impacts us today, even while more and more fossils are discovered around the world. This is the week when all their learning comes together for an opportunity to escape! I planned an escape room where students had to solve problems about animal survival and hereditary topics in order to figure out the pathway to freedom. It was a fun and memorable week for these kiddos.
To set the stage for learning, I included some video clips from Jurassic Park (the movie) throughout the week and dinosaur sounds each day to add some excitement. To make this an official adventure, I made headlamps for all the kids to wear during our project learning time. I made these with a headband and push on/off light. While the students were learning and solving problems, an alarm would go off and a question appeared on the Promethean board that had to be answered in one minute. IF the students correctly solved the problem, the dinosaurs were placed back in their cages. IF the students did not solve the problem correctly, the dinosaurs began to exit their cages and roam Dinosaur Park. The kids absolutely LOVED these “problems” and were relieved when their team solved the problem. The problems focused on math skills the students were working on in class.
This post may contain affiliate links, and I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.
I prepared seven different stations for students to explore: dinosaur dung, paleontology reconstruction, adaptation, DNA, fossils discovered in our world, outrunning a dinosaur, and animal selection (supplies shared at end of post). I utilized the Mystery Science “Animals Through Time” activities as a learning resource. This resource included videos, activities, and a learning quiz. These lessons were self-guided; however, working with a partner made these stations more fun. Each station included some hands on learning which the students loved. I enjoyed listening to the comments students made when learning – yes still learning – about animal survival and hereditary topics. Students also dug for fossils in “dino dung” which I was able to obtain from the Talkeetna Mountains in my backyard (well dinosaurs did roam there, but the dung was a mixture of chocolate cake mix, marshmallows, spaghetti, and twigs). The students wore plastic hand gloves as they were not digging in dino dung without protection. They enjoyed this learning station, even though it was gross. Once the fossils were discovered, the students washed the fossils and worked to put them together.
Each day brought students a new station rotation to learn and solve problems. At the end of each day we debriefed as a class about our learning focusing on the driving and essential questions. After four days of learning in the Dinosaur Park Escape Room, the last day involved a party. In all the excitement, I FORGOT to get pictures to share!! I am sooo bummed. However, if you can visualize this you can see it, too. I prepared dino-egg salad sandwiches, dino-bites (donut holes), dino-dung cupcakes with dinosaur toppers, and juice packs. We had dinosaur plates and napkins to make the party more festive. When students got their snack, they also chose a dino-egg (Easter plastic egg) from the basket. Each egg had a clue to the question, “Is there still a dinosaur that lurks our world today?”. Students took turns sharing the clues with the whole class, piecing together the information, and solving the question. Yes, they actually solved the problem with only 27 clues!! AMAZING!! AND I am happy to report that all 29 students and 1 teacher safely escaped Dinosaur Park.