Updated: May 18
By Guest Blogger, Kelly Lucero
Google Forms has typically been used in education to create surveys, sign-up forms, and quizzes. But what if Google Forms could be used to create engaging educational escape rooms?
What is an Educational Escape Room?
A traditional escape room has players use clues to solve puzzles to “escape” from a room within a time limit. Escape rooms can be simple or elaborate but typically give the escapees one to two hours to solve the mystery and escape.
An educational escape room (or escape room for the classroom) applies the same concept of using clues to solve puzzles, but the “escape” is usually a series of locks. Breakout EDU is an example of educational escape rooms where students unlock a set of puzzles to open a final puzzle at the end. An educational escape room typically ends with a fun prize or answer to a mystery. You want students to feel that they “have to know” what is at the end if they persevere to solve the clues. That is where you hit the sweet spot of increased engagement!
Why Educational Escape Rooms?
Educational escape rooms are a great way to increase student engagement by gamifying learning and adding student voice and choice to the learning process. In addition, working with others to solve clues and puzzles results in several key learning skills:
Using Google Forms to Create the Escape Room Experience
Educational escape rooms can take time to set up, especially if you are using several locks and puzzles. However, your student's will LOVE them! Digital escape rooms have become popular in the last few years using tools such as Google Sites, Slides and Forms. For the following examples we will focus on Google Forms. With Forms anyone can quickly and easily create a digital educational escape room, and I’ll show you how!
Want to try an escape room before you create one? Link to one of the following examples:
What Else Can You Do with Google Forms?
Let's take you on a journey back to the day. Feel nostalgia with this book cover?
Ahh, the “Choose Your Own Adventure" series! Voice and choice in reading in the palm of the reader's hand! If you are not familiar, the premise of the choose your own adventure book series was a mystery where the reader was able to select the pathway the characters would travel. For example:
Do you enter the cave or turn around? Enter the cave: Flip to page 43 to find your answer.
Why not give your students a chance to interact with stories in the same "choose your own adventure" style?
Creating choose your own adventure stories is the second “treasure” that you can find using Google Forms. And the great thing is, creating both escape rooms and choose your own adventure stories uses the same Google Form skills!
Choose your own adventures aren’t just for nostalgia, though: they teach social emotional learning too. Life is full of little decisions. Providing small choices with Google Forms allows students to understand cause and effect while also feeling like they have control over how the story is unfolding. Choose your own adventures also help students with their own storytelling by scaffolding their creative writing skills.
Check out this “Choose Your Own Ending” folktale in Google Forms for an example.
We have arrived at our destination! It is time to learn how to create escape rooms and choose your own adventures in Google Forms.
Step 1: Open Google Forms and Create a New Form
Navigate to forms.google.com and create a new blank Google Form.
Step 2: Get To Know Your Forms Icons
Step 3: For Escape Rooms, Use Short Answer Questions and Response Validation
Select the plus sign to add a question.
When you begin writing your question, Google will automatically make a suggestion as to what kind of answers you’re looking for, whether it’s multiple choice or short answer. For the most part, you’re going to want to choose “Short Answer."
You can also click on the image icon next to the answer if you want to select an image for that answer. Google Forms also allows you to use GIFs in your answers.
I highly suggest turning on the "required" toggle. This will force students to add an answer before being able to move on to the next clue or puzzle.
Now, here is where the magic happens. Select the 3 dot icon to the right of the “required” toggle and select “Response validation." This will allow you to enable right and wrong answers.
In the response validation menu, you will have to tell the question what the correct answer should be. In this example, the answer is 10 and only 10 so the response validation is set to:
Column 1: Number, as 10 is a number. You can also choose text and length, which is the number of characters in the answer.
Column 2: The answer can only be 10 so the number is set to "equal to." If the answer was any number 1 to 10, the response validation would be "Less than or equal to."
Column 3: This is where you add the answer, in this case 10.
Column 4: This is where you can add a clue if the answer inputted is incorrect.
That's it! Simple, huh?
Step 4: For Choose Your Own Adventures, Use Multiple Choice Questions and Branching
If you want to create a choose your own adventure in Google Forms, follow steps 1 and 2 above. Instead of creating a "Short answer" question, create a "Multiple choice" question.
Change the title for each of the answers to whichever choices you want students to have.
Now for the magic. Select the 3 dot icon to the right of the “required” toggle and select “Go to section based on answer." This will enable you to send students to different sections and questions based on the answer provided.
Step 5: Share the Google Form with Students
Once you have added all of your desired questions, select the "Send" icon at the top right of the Form.
Then, select the link icon and "Copy." Share this link with students and they will be able to open and complete the Google Form!
A few best practice tips for creating escape rooms in Google Forms:
8-10 questions is an ideal length
Make sure to have a theme to tie the escape room experience together
Customize your activity
As mentioned, Google Forms isn't the only way to create digital escape rooms. You could also create escape rooms in Google Slides. Or, add a twist to Google Forms and embed a Google Form into a Google Site with other elements (or clues!).
If you need more support with learning Google Forms in order to create educational escape rooms, reference Google for Education’s Get Started with Google Forms resources.