North East Educational Foundation (NEEF) staff and board members embarked on an adventure as they participated in DATA at Ed White Middle School’s Escape Room on March 6.
The team found themselves in a classroom with brick wall paper and antique furniture filled with props and clues.
Sixth grade language arts teacher Ryan Wayment helped get the team started on their journey.
“An organization called Society to Understand Pupils’ Interest and Desires has taken it upon themselves to protect students from inappropriate ideas and materials,” Wayment explained to the team. “They’ve gone a little too far and have locked up your intellectual freedom in a box, in order to get your intellectual freedom back, you need to find some clues and get all the locks on the box open, so your mission if you choose to accept, is to get that box open.”
The team used clues, hints and their critical thinking skills as they attempted to complete the objectives at hand within the allotted 45 minutes.
Sixth grade student Tyler Tudlong was on hand to guide the team as they searched for clues through supreme court cases, books, a laptop and an iPad.
Ultimately, the team was one lock away from completing the task, but they were able to learn about net neutrality through literature and videos they watched.
DATA at Ed White Middle School Director Fernando Ruiz explained that the Escape Room provides a great way for students to engage in a learning activity that gets them all on the same playing field.
“We get a wide diversity of students, the cultural norms that they come with and cultural backgrounds are very different so this kind of levels that playing field so they are able to have that exposure in a safe place,” Ruiz said.
The NEEF team participated in an English Literature themed activity, but there are different themes for other content areas. A math class recently completed a forensic science themed activity that involved solving math problems. Moreover, science teachers recently tailored the activity to help students identify organisms.
Through the Escape Room, students are able to focus on communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.
“You see all of that in an environment like this,” Ruiz added.
The learning space was funded thanks to the help of NEEF’s Big Give Campaign last year.
Rackspace supported the endeavor by donating portable walls, furniture and the observational wall. The program also received donations from thrift stores for the carpets, chairs and other furniture in the room. Teachers came in on their own time and designed the room.
Ruiz thanked NEEF for their continued support.
“You have allowed us to do things we wouldn’t have been able to consider other wise,” Ruiz told the team. “The Foundation is such an asset to our kids.”
The NEEF team left with goodie bags filled with DATA at White Middle School swag, but most importantly, with a renewed inspiration to keep raising funds for students.
Mark your calendars for this year’s Big Give scheduled for March 28. Early giving will begin March 21.