A spider in the newborn ward, an unqualified Occupational Therapist, an audiology mystery and the death of a paramedic. These were the scenarios presented in the finals competition of the 2018 Flinders NT Escape Room Challenge for high schools.
Four teams from Casuarina Senior College (CSC), Darwin Middle School and Northern Territory School of Distance Education (NTSDE) spent many weeks brainstorming, designing, building and testing their entries in preparation for the competition day which was held on the 21st September. Each team had to present an escape room featuring one of the health care professions that can be studied at Flinders University. The student teams were randomly allocated a health profession and given a basic starter kit including some locks, boxes, a light box and a lanyard. From these meagre supplies and with a maximum budget of $100, they were required to produce props, clues, puzzles and a scenario that could be utilised in any room as a ‘pop-up’ escape activity.
During the competition day students were treated to morning tea, informal career presentations by undergraduate health students and given the opportunity to run their escape rooms for each other. Much groaning and laughter was heard throughout the morning as participants and judges worked their way through the challenges behind closed doors. Cheers and applause followed when final clues were solved.
The entries were judged by the owner of a local escape centre, a Flinders NT staff member and a careers pathway coordinator from the NT Primary Health Network. A ‘People’s Choice’ prize was awarded based on votes from other teams. The judges were very impressed with the standard of entries and although the competition was very close, the final winner chosen was the team from the School of Distance Education. The team received a prize of $1,000 for their school to invest in science equipment or activities.
Teachers and students said:
- WOW – what a great morning!
- It allows the students to be creative, to practice teamwork and communication
- Students were challenged to think ‘outside the box’, bring their own creative ideas and act under pressure
- It allowed students to do something to relieve stress
- It brought together other schools, so we got to meet different people and try out their rooms
Feedback from competitors, teachers, Flinders University staff and judges indicates that this competition will be back again, even bigger, in 2019.