Melissa High School “escape room” cultivates problem-solving, library interest

MHS Escape Room 007


Nov 2017
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Melissa High School librarian Shana Nowlin curated an “escape room” in late October within the school library as part of Teen Read Week and Mystery Month. The room is similar in concept to escape rooms that have popped up across the metroplex: it’s dark, with not much inside, requiring a collective strategy to get out or “escape”.

The theme of Nowlin’s escape room ties in with The Thousandth Floor, a mystery book by author Katharine McGee. The room is pitch black and is set in New York City on the rooftop ledge of a skyscraper. The challenge is to solve a murder mystery through a variety of clues, with only a small flashlight as a light source.

The escape room typically takes fifteen minutes to complete, and has been open to students before and after school and during mega lunch for the last two weeks.

“It’s been bringing kids into the library that normally won’t come in, and they’re having to problem-solve together in order to find the answers,” Nowlin said. “It’s making them think, but they’re also enjoying it. They’re having a lot of fun.”

Nowlin says she’s had a number of students put in a book request for The Thousandth Floor after playing.

Student library aides had a big role in setting up the escape room and testing the difficulty level, while some props were borrowed from the theatre department to help make the scene eerie and realistic.

The room closes after Friday, and students have already requested that Nowlin create a second room next semester – a sure sign of success.

Media Contact: Maddie Coe, Community Relations

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