In your chemistry lessons at school, how much did you get to experiment yourself? Maybe less than you would have liked? The Science and Education Team of the German Chemical Society’s (GDCh) young chemists association, the JungChemikerForum (JCF), has developed a practical chemistry experiment kit for students in the form of a chemistry escape room, called ChemEscape.
The kit is described by team lead Monja Schilling: With this set, teachers are provided with the necessary equipment for experiments free of charge. Little additional material is needed, and teachers can incorporate the project into a 90-minute lesson. Instructions and accompanying materials are found online on the project’s website.
ChemEscape is designed to get students excited about chemistry and related sciences—and possibly motivate them to study chemistry or other STEM fields at university. The students experiment independently and solve six puzzles that show the diversity of chemistry. All of the experiments are embedded into a storyline. With each experiment, a part of the solution code is determined, which is entered on the website at the end to “pick the lock”.
Successful Pilot Project
The project has taken care to account for the availability of materials in schools and the correct difficulty for students. Chemicals that are generally available at schools were selected for the experiments. The necessary instructions can be accessed digitally in class or be printed out.
A pilot project in various schools throughout Germany and Austria ensured that the escape room worked well in different situations and was fun for the students. Students and teachers filled out questionnaires at the end. It was found that the majority of students actively participated in the escape room, the instructions were clear, and the difficulty of the experiments was considered appropriate. 85 % of the students stated that they would like to play an escape room in class again, and over 90 % of the teachers would play the escape room again in class or recommend it to their colleagues.
The final version of ChemEscape is now available, and a translation into English is planned with the help of members of the European Young Chemists’ Network and other volunteers. The German-language chemistry escape room kit is provided free of charge to educational institutions and can be ordered online.
- Endlich selbst experimentieren,
Nachr. Chem. 2022, 70, 94–96.
- ChemEscape – der Chemie-Escape-Room (in German)