Testing with a twist

Grade 10 students learn about physical and chemical properties and the changes they undergo through an "escape room" exercise. In this Q&A, Upper School Chemistry Teacher Kali Mills explains how and why she delivered this test with a twist!

How did you come up with the idea to test the boys using the escape room concept? 

I constantly am searching for ideas to make class more interactive. I think this is especially important in a boys’ school. They need to get up and move around instead of sitting for 45 minutes straight.  The escape room consisted of eight stations that tested their knowledge on physical and chemical properties and changes. Each station was a type of puzzle or exercise they had to work through with a partner.  

What are the benefits of a lesson like this one? 

I don’t think every student excels in a typically assessment setting. Test anxiety really interests me. So this year, especially with this course - conceptual chemistry - I’m trying to break the mold and intermix more traditional tests and quizzes with projects, escape rooms, cooking assignments, and infographics. I like task-based and application-based assessments because when my students eventually get out in to the “real world” that’s what it’s going to look like. How they apply their knowledge to the task at hand. 

What do you hope the boys got out of it? 

I hope the boys felt accomplished once they completed each station. One, I hope that they know the material. Two, I hope that they work together with their partner and analyze a novel situation, tackle it head on, and within a time limit. At the end of the day, I want them to enjoy science and be excited every day they come into the classroom.  

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