Escape from Dinosaur Park! – the Journey Ends

Finally, after a five-week learning unit heading back in time – yes, 100 million years ago – the students are ready to enter an education escape room to exit 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 education escape room will be the last piece to demonstrate learning.

Project based-learning example

This is the week when all their learning comes together for an opportunity to escape!  

I planned an education escape room where students solve problems about animal survival and hereditary topics to figure out their pathway to freedom.  

After an afternoon of engaging in the education escape room, we finished off with a full celebration.

It was a fun and memorable week for these students.

Setting the Education Escape Room Stage

To set the stage for learning and leading up to our final event, I included some video clips from Jurassic Park (the movie) throughout the week coupled with dinosaur sounds each day to add some excitement.  This was the perfect addition to our already decor-themed classroom transformation.

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Learning Assessments

education escape room

To make this an official adventure for our dinosaur journey, I made headlamps for all the students to wear during our project-based learning time.  

I made these with a headband and push-on/off light.  The classroom lights were turned off during this time, so the students had to use their headband lights to complete the learning tasks.

During each session, there was an additional layer students had to content with – just to add a little more excitement.

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. Each team had to work together to solve the problem. The questions focused on their math skills and content knowledge.  

If the student teams correctly solved the problem, the dinosaurs were placed back in their cages.  If the student teams 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 accurately.

Seven Education Escape Room Stations

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 the end of the post). Each station included some type of hands-on learning which the students loved.  

Animal Survival and Hereditary Adaptations

In one station, 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.  

I enjoyed listening to the comments students made when learning – yes still learning – about animal survival and hereditary topics.

Dinosaur Dung

education escape room

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 them and worked to put the puzzle together.

Paleontology Reconstruction

Students had several dinosaur models to choose from for this station. They had to reconstruct a dinosaur and identify the bones placed together. This was a fun station to build upon the work they did in Dinosaur Dung.

Dinosaur Speed

In this station, students had ten dinosaur cards with information sharing details about the dinosaur. Students had to organize the data with each of the cards and then answer questions about the dinosaurs and their speed.

Animal Selection

This station focuses on the differences between the dinosaurs of the past with other animals in the present. Students discover similarities and differences. Students also trace the dinosaur’s history from the continent fossils were discovered to the beginnings of the dinosaur period. This information helped students dig deeper into the Essential Questions.

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.

Time for a Dino-Celebration

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.  

education escape room

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 snacks, 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 in our world today?”.  Students took turns sharing the clues with the whole class, piecing together the information, and solving questions.  

Yes, they actually solved the problem with only 27 clues!!  AMAZING!!   And I am happy to report that all 29 students plus 1 teacher safely escaped Dinosaur Park.

Related Resources

These are additional posts related to this education escape room and project-based learning examples.

A Day in the Life of a Paleontologist

A Project Based Learning Unit with STEAM

Escape from Dinosaur Park

What is 21st Century Pedagogy?

Below are additional resources that can be used to implement this education escape room. To learn more about each resource, click on the Amazon picture to learn more about the item. Check out these resources that I used to create the Dinosaur Education Escape Room.

education escape room
Headlamps are made by hot gluing a push light to a headband.
education escape room
education escape room
Dinosaur paleontology kit

Final Thoughts

This education escape room was the perfect way to bring our project-based learning to an end. Besides the academic skills, students also learned and practiced collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity every single day. This practice proved to be beneficial during this final week of participating in the education escape room. During the celebration, students debriefed with each other about the learning experience and expressed their desire to start another project-based learning example.

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Annette Durbin

Annette has been an educator for more than 30 years working in the PK-6 elementary classroom, K-12 multi-language learner instructional specialist, district leadership, university professor, as well as a mentor for teachers nationwide. A National Board Certificated Teacher, Annette focuses her research on accelerating learning and advancing achievement, personalizing instruction, technology, and leadership in the education field.

This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. Nicki

    You are so creative! I love it!

    1. User Avatar
      Annette Durbin

      Thanks, Nicki!! We had sooo much fun learning about prehistoric history.

      Take care,

      ~Annette

  2. Amanda

    I bet it is so fun to be a teacher and to teach these things to the kids. There is so much fun you can do with these topics! I love it!

    1. User Avatar
      Annette Durbin

      Amanda, I agree!! I think that is why I love teaching as much today as I did 27 years ago.

      Thanks for stopping by,

      ~Annette

  3. T.M. Brown

    I love the hands-on learning projects!! It creates a deeper understanding and greater grasp of the information being taught. Love this!

    1. User Avatar
      Annette Durbin

      I love learning with hands-on!! SOOO much better than lecture and workbook pages.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      ~Annette

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