Tutorial for Escape

This week I made a tutorial using voicethread on the Escape project.

While I listed this as being suitable for middle school students for Next Generation
Science Standard for energy, I think with a few tweaks it could also work high school.

I listed it as Energy MS-PS3-5 Next Generation Science Standards but I think it can
be cross-referenced into additional standards and possibly also be aligned with the
Common Core Reading Standards.

I would suggest Connections to Engineering, Technology and Applications of Science.
Engineers improve existing technologies or develop new ones 4-PS3-4.

Also Connections to Nature of Science.
Most scientists and engineers work in teams and science affects everyday life.

If you prefer a voicethread that includes narration and images please click here.

Written Instructions:

Project Materials and Suggested Alternatives

The materials needed for the sensor are: a piece of paper, aluminum tape, about 7 ft of 20-2 wire, two alligator Test Clips and a multipurpose wiring tool (to cut the wire and strip the insulation away as needed).

Alternatives would for wire would be any wire you have access to. You do not need to use 20-2 wire. I decided to use it because it was really lightweight and inexpensive. Another solution would be to make a foil strip that runs the length of the wall, connects to the sensor at one end and has a tab on the other end where you can clip on the MaKey MaKey Test Lead.

Project Materials and Suggested Alternatives Continued

Other materials you will need are: MaKey MaKey kit, Computer or laptop, and Scratch. Depending on the height you place your sensor at, you may need to add a prop to give the players extra reach. Some options would be a broom, umbrellas, curtain rod, crutch, etc. You may also need to include some aluminum foil, if you are not providing the player with a prop that will conduct the electrical current from the MaKey MaKey. Make sure you test the conductivity of your prop before you have players play the game.

How to Make – Getting Started

To get started, first you need to determine the room you will use and where you want to place your sensor. You will need to measure how much wire you need to go from the sensor location to your computer with MaKey MaKey hooked up.

How to Make – Sensor & Long Test Lead

Next, use a piece of paper and apply Aluminum Tape or some other conductive tape to the paper. Your facilities people will not be happy if you apply the Aluminum Tape to the wall as it may damage the wall when you remove it.

I used three equal length pieces to make the sensor and made sure I had about a ¼ inch overlap on each strip to ensure conductivity. Then I made a tab by cutting a small piece of Aluminum tape and folding one third back on itself and then attach the bottom third to the tape on the paper.

Now it is time to make your Long Test Lead that will run from the MaKey MaKey console to your sensor. First measure off your wire and cut it. Make sure you give yourself a few extra inches in case of errors. Next, strip about an inch of insulation off each end of the wire. Thread your exposed wire through the end cap of the alligator test lead and then secure the wire by wrapping it around and tightening the screw. Lastly push the end cap firmly onto the back of the alligator test clip.

If your alligator test leads do not have a screw, then you can loop them through the holes….. that you can see just to the left of the screw in the image on the lower right. Also if you do not have end caps with your alligator test leads that is fine. The electrical current used by MaKey MaKey is low enough that it will not cause a shock.

How to Make – Scratch Code

Now that your senor and wiring is complete, it’s time to write up the Scratch code. The image on the left, shows the code for the backdrop. I recorded my own audio using a fellow educator to do the voice of the villian, but you can just use the say blocks to have written text on the screen instead. This code shows you that when the green flag is clicked, the countdown resets to 300 seconds and after one second it is decreased by one. Next you see, that the backdrop is switched to the starting backdrop which a screenshot of an area I set up in Second Life. (When green flag clicked, switch backdrop to Stage2). I used the space key as the MaKey MaKey positive wire, so that is why you see, when key space pressed then the players receive the “You Win!” procedure. If the 300 seconds gets to zero then the players receive the Game Over procedure.

The “You Win!” procedure simply plays the Good Show audio I recorded and switches to the You Win backdrop. The Game Over Procedure simply plays the Time is up! audio I recorded and switches to the Game Over backdrop.

The image on the right, shows code for the sprite. The main code for the sprite is in the middle of this image. (When green flag clicked). I used the hide command to initially hide the sprite so it would appear on screen. I added a reset timer to reset the internal timer that scratches uses. The wait one second is to allow the code to autostart after one second of the green flag being clicked. The blue go to command positions my sprite in the bottom left corner of the screen. Show, will make the sprite visible to the viewer and then the program executes the initialize procedure and the speech 1 procedure and is then hidden.

The initialize procedure, broadcasts the message fly to the sprite and then has the sprite glide to the center of the screen and play an audio recording of the text provided in Speech 1.

When the sprite receives the fly message, it animates as it moves to the center of the screen.

The Speech 1 procedure is the instructional text the players need to perform the task assigned.

At the bottom of the slide, I added the URL to my project so you can see the code more clearly. Feel free to make a derivative of my project and edit to fit your needs.

Completing the Setup

Now that you have your Sensor, long test lead, props, and scratch code all done, it’s time to set everything up.

First, use the masking tape to place your sensor in the room, clip one end of the long test lead to the tab you made, and tape down the long test lead as needed. Next, plug the USB port into your computer and the other end into the MaKey MaKey console. Then, clip the remaining end of the long test lead into the space area of the console. If your alligator test lead is too long, then simply use one of the test leads included in your MaKey MaKey box to complete the circuit.

Lastly connect another test lead that was provided in the MaKey MaKey box to one of the Earth connections. The other end is left unclipped. To test your system, start the scratch program and then touch the Earth test lead to the nearest end from the space test lead.

Now you are ready to for your players. GAME ON!

Keys to Success

Aluminum foil is your best friend. Also use the room to your advantage. Instead of leaving each piece out for the players to easily find, hide it and make them work for it. The key to an escape room is to have everything they need to solve the puzzle in the room but make it challenging to find and figure out.

Lessons Learned

Be creative with your props and what materials you provide. Maybe you want them to form a human chain, maybe you want them to form a human pyramid, there are lots of options, so have fun.

Also, check your connections early and often! If your connections work, the LEDs around the Space are will turn green.

All you need to do is touch the Earth lead to the space lead to check if the Makey Makey console is working. To test the long lead before you tape it into place, touch the Earth lead to the far end of the long test lead and see if you get the green lights. To test the sensor, connect the long lead up before you hang it and touch the Earth lead to various points on the aluminum tape and look for the green lights. When you get all greens, place the sensor.

Then next thing is to test your props. So hold one end of the Earth lead in one hand and then grab the prop and touch it to the sensor. If you get the green light around the space area, you are good. If it does not light up, then you will probably need either get another prop or provide wire or aluminum foil so your players can wrap the prop to allow it to conduct the charge.


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