Attention teachers and youth librarians! There’s a new kit coming from the Indiana State Library created especially with middle and high school students in mind. History Escape Room Kits will be available for teachers and librarians to check out starting in January of 2024.
Escape rooms are a popular way to engage students in learning, problem solving and critical thinking. Students enter a room or a space and are presented with a problem or mystery. They are “locked in” until the mystery is solved. They must scour the room for clues and work together to solve a series of puzzles that involve all manner of skills: map reading, image analysis, math problems, analyzing short passages, searching through newspapers, teamwork, leadership and more. If they succeed in solving the puzzles (usually in a limited amount of time) they can solve the mystery and “escape.”
The Indiana State Library’s History Escape Room Kits are being developed for Indiana’s public libraries and schools. All programs will be steeped in history and based on primary sources available from the Indiana State Library’s collections and the collections of the Library of Congress. The programs will be housed in containers and shipped to libraries and schools using the State Library’s courier network. Possible themes for the kits include: Genealogy with the Iris Baughman Diary, Jazz on Indiana Avenue with Sanborn Maps, Presidents and Vice Presidents of Indiana (including Benjamin Harrison), the Flu Pandemic of 1918 with WWI letters, Famous Political Speeches in Indiana and Indiana Basketball focused on Crispus Attucks High School.
Each History Escape Room kit will align with Social Studies Standards in Indiana for grades 6-12. These standards include map reading, industry in Indiana, primary and secondary sources, and events and movements in the 20th century. Escape rooms could be used by teachers as an engaging activity both during and after school hours. Youth librarians could use them as a pre-planned out-of-the-box program. History Escape Room kits will be designed for up to 16 youth to work on together but could be used by groups as small as four. Teachers could check out two to three copies of the same kit to accommodate larger classroom sizes.
Ease of use is front of mind for these kits. Teachers and librarians should be able to receive a kit, watch a video and get their room set up in 20 minutes or less. All solutions and hints will be included for the lead librarian or teacher, and all kits will be tested with actual teens before release. Interested libraries and schools will be able to reserve kits through KitKeeper, the same service that is used to book Storytime Kits, Book Club Kits, and Lego and Duplo Kits.
Training on using the kits will be available both at the Indiana Library Federation’s Youth Services Division conference held on Aug. 13 in Indianapolis, and at fall trainings held by the Indiana State Library yet to be scheduled.
The Escape Room Kits are sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Midwest Region Program, located at Illinois State University. Content created and featured in partnership with the TPS Midwest Region does not indicate an endorsement by the Library of Congress.
Questions? Reach out to Suzanne Walker, Indiana Young Readers Center librarian.
This blog post was submitted by Indiana Young Readers Center librarian Suzanne Walker.