The Christmas season in middle school can be a frenzied time. With students eager to go home for the Christmas break and teachers looking forward to a few weeks of uninterrupted hot coffee, it can be difficult to find ways to keep students engaged. But with fun activities like this Christmas Digital Escape Room, your students will have a blast in the days leading up to the Christmas break.
In this blog post, I’m going to go over this fun and exciting Christmas Digital Escape Room, as well as talk about why it’s important to learn about holiday traditions from around the world and share how you can use this digital escape room in other subject areas in the few weeks of school before Christmas break.
Christmas Digital Escape Room: The Great Gingerbread Escape
This Christmas-themed digital escape room is perfect for students as they head toward Christmas break. As in most schools, students are probably looking forward to a few well-deserved weeks off to enjoy family and friends and maybe even a cookie or two.
That’s where this Christmas Digital Escape Room comes into play. Most – if not all – students love a good cookie, and when you think of gingerbread cookies, you might think of them shaped as fun little gingerbread people. But what if those gingerbread people came to life and escaped the kitchen to explore the world?
In this digital escape room, students will work independently or with their peers to solve ten Christmas/world geography-focused challenges. When they solve all of the challenges, they will find the escaped gingerbread people who were travelling the world to avoid being captured.
This digital escape room is the perfect activity for students in middle school to build classroom community, promote teamwork, and encourage social-emotional learning. It is also 100% editable and requires virtually no prep from the teacher. This activity also includes reflection questions at the end so you can assess what your students thought of the activity.
The fun thing about this Christmas Digital Escape Room is that the clues are related to global Christmas traditions or world geography general knowledge. This means that students will look a bit into holiday traditions around the world as they explore the globe looking for their gingerbread people.
What Teachers Are Saying
I purchased this resource to fit in between the chaos of the holidays, but my kids LOVED it! It was engaging and it really encouraged them to work together and use the resources (map, globe) around the class. Will definitely use again! — Jennifer K.
My students had so much fun completing this activity! We started by watching a video about different winter holidays celebrated around the world, and then moved into the escape room. A great and engaging activity. — Jessica D.
Why Is It Important To Learn About Holiday Traditions Around The World?
No matter where your school or teaching career is based, there are going to be students from different places in the world. Exploring traditions from different cultures during the holidays fosters empathy, respect, and global citizenship and is very beneficial to students.
Not only that but exploring holiday traditions from other cultures provides opportunities for students to connect with their peers on a global scale. Learning about these traditions can also be a cross-curricular activity as it can tie into geography and history and help students understand the interconnectedness of cultures and the historical context of these traditions.
Students will not only gain valuable knowledge of how the world celebrates different holidays but also have a cultural appreciation of the people around them.
Another great way to dive into learning about other holiday traditions is by using resources such as this Global Holiday Celebrations Research Assignment. You might also be interested in this blog post, Inclusive Holiday Celebrations, which outlines all of the different holidays teachers in Canada should be aware of.
How Can I Extend This Christmas Digital Escape Room With Other Subject Areas?
The fun thing about digital escape rooms is that a lot of them can be extended into various subject areas, depending on the topic being learned at the time. This Christmas Digital Escape Room is no different. Here are some extension activities to further students’ learning in other subject areas:
- Ask students to write a narrative about their own gingerbread character’s adventure in a specific country or culture they learned about during the escape room. Or have them create word puzzles or crosswords using some of the holiday-related terms from the Christmas Digital Escape Room. Have them include definitions for the terms they include.
- What are all of the places the gingerbread people travelled to? Have students map out the various destinations the gingerbread people took on their trip. They could label the countries visited, identify the geographical features, and note some of the key holiday traditions in those countries.
- Students could also create a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast how other countries celebrate versus their own holiday celebrations. They can even create posters or presentations to showcase their findings.
- Have students create their own gingerbread characters. They can then present to the class what made them select such attributes for their gingerbread people.
- You could even get a little messier and have students do some gingerbread cookie decorating, with prizes for the best cookie decorations as voted by their classmates.
- In the Christmas Digital Escape Room, students learn how to create gingerbread cookies in the Victorian way. Have them work on their measurement skills to scale up or down various gingerbread cookie recipes. Or, students can create graphs or charts to analyze their peers’ favourite traditions mentioned in the escape room or their favourite challenges.
- With baking comes science! Explore the science behind baking by discussing the chemical reactions that occur during the gingerbread cookie-making process. Have them dive into some cookie science with Serious Eats. They can also look at the Chemistry of Cookies in this TED-Ed video.
- Students could also break out their engineering skills and design and build a gingerbread house using engineering principles. They can experiment with different shapes, materials, and icing techniques to make the structure stable and aesthetically appealing. You could also have this as a fun at-home activity over the holidays.
- Have students create playlists of traditional holiday songs from the countries they visited in the Christmas Digital Escape Room. They can share their playlists with the class and explain the cultural significance of the songs.
There are so many ways you can extend students’ learning after using the Christmas Digital Escape Room. Even though this escape room only takes students thirty minutes to an hour to complete, they can keep the learning going from geography to taste-testing to engineering.
What are some ways you would expand on this Christmas Digital Escape Room with your middle school students?
Let me know by connecting with me on social media (@2peasandadog).