The picture of a spider being dangled over a fiery flame about to be dropped at any time not only makes for great imagery in Jonathan Edwards’ early American Sermon best known for its quintessential expressions of the Puritan Literary Era, but it also forms the perfect narrative for a high school literature class to use for an ESCAPE ROOM!
In the middle of September, numerous juniors and seniors from Mrs. Megan Polzin’s American Lit course could be seen walking as briskly as possible around the school fully engaged in the task of finding a faculty/staff member in hopes of obtaining their next clue required to progress through the stages of the digital escape room Polzin created.
She reflected, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, although a classic, is not often considered enjoyable by the kiddos. After reading a blog post on turning mundane lessons into awesome escape rooms where students are engaged for every moment of the lesson, taking on challenges that they may otherwise cringe at, I knew this was the perfect text to try it out on.”
Polzin continued on to say that,“…overall it was well received. The students still had to read the same excerpt I would have assigned otherwise, but they got to do something fun with it. The ‘fun’ was totally educational too though, which was the best part. They were analyzing quotes, assessing paraphrases for accuracy, answering text-dependent questions, and looking up biblical references, but I’m guessing those aren’t the aspects they will always remember. If we can engage them so they are willing to try hard things, think critically, and have a ball while doing it, I’d say it’s something worth doing!”
Student Dylan Maetzold (Class Of 2020) evaluated the assignment stating, “I really enjoyed the Escape Room Challenge. It made me excited to come to English to figure out the next challenge. It also made me read thoroughly through the text to find the answers. It helped me understand a difficult text. I would love to do this again.”
Another senior, Benjamin Cushman, remarked, “…it was stressful and difficult but at the same time fun and educational.”
This won’t be the only escape room students at Mayer Lutheran will attempt. Mrs. Kristen Baker created one based on the text her students are currently grappling with, The Hobbit; and Mrs. Polzin has already finished creating a longer, and she believes more challenging, Great Gatsby Escape Room that the students will tackle shortly before their semester final.