STEM Escape: Immersing urban and rural families in a biomedical mystery
Mock-up of STEM Escape’s residency at the California Academy of Sciences
Escape rooms are a popular new immersive game format in which a team is “locked” in a room and challenged to solve a series of narrative-embedded puzzles encoded in the room’s artifacts in order to “escape” within a set period of time. Over the next five years, the UC Museum of Paleontology, University of Kansas Natural History Museum, California Academy of Sciences, and Berkeley Public Library will develop and evaluate an educational game based on the escape room model. STEM Escape is funded by the National Institute of Health’s Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), which supports innovative educational projects that share health and biomedical science, train the next generation of scientists, and enhance the diversity of the scientific workforce.
The game will pop up in museums and libraries across the country, engaging diverse families in solving a biomedical mystery. Players will use their critical-thinking and collaboration skills to solve puzzles that communicate basic concepts regarding evolutionary relationships, a topic with a wide variety of medical applications. The wheelchair-accessible room will serve English- and Spanish-speaking family groups with two to six active participants, age eight and up.
Ready to grab the kids and escape or get your institution involved? Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait. STEM Escape won’t be touring until 2022. Planned stops include the California Academy of Sciences, Berkeley Public Library, Stanislaus County Library, Arizona Science Center, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Artesia Public Library, University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, Estherville Public Library, University of Kansas Natural History Museum, Independence Public Library, and Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.
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STEM Escape is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under SEPA Award Number R25GM132971. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.