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. The UC Museum of Paleontology, University of Kansas Natural History Museum, California Academy of Sciences, and Berkeley Public Library are developing and evaluating 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 (now called VENOMventure | aVENENOtura) is popping up in museums and libraries across the country, engaging diverse families in solving a biomedical mystery. Players 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 serves English- and Spanish-speaking family groups with two to five active participants, age eight and up.
Ready to grab the kids and escape or get your institution involved? VENOMventure | aVENENOtura started touring Summer 2023. 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.
- Visit our booking site to see where we are now.
- Submit this form to let us know if you’d like to bring the game to your institution
- Download our Plant on a Rampage comic/activity book in English or Spanish (ages 8-14)
- Read about the game in Berkeley News
- Read about the game’s run at KU Natural History Museum
- Meet the team behind STEM Escape
- Project abstract
- STEM Escape poster from the 2019 SEPA conference
- STEM Escape poster from the 2021 SEPA conference
- Preliminary results from formative testing
- STEM Escape poster from the 2022 SEPA conference
- STEM Escape poster from the 2023 SEPA conference
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.