California Gold Rush ESCAPE ROOM Activity – Westward Expansion
The California Gold Rush Escape Room will take students on a secret mission around the classroom! This escape room has students decode interesting facts about the California Gold Rush, boomtowns, ghost towns and mass migration. This Escape Room has students walking around the classroom breaking codes. The codes include ciphers, Morse code, cryptograms and a final 4 digit code based on the decoders/clues.
Each clue and code is different. The codes require students to think differently to decipher or decode them. Some codes are easier than others. Some codes require critical thinking to determine what a letter/symbol stands for. Each code will reveal interesting facts about the California Gold Rush. The use of secret code will keep your students engaged while competing to find the final code. Students can report the final code to you. If you wanted to, you could purchase a 4 digit lock that you program, but it is not necessary at all! No props needed!! There are no fancy shapes to cut out, and no silly envelopes to stuff! This is a activity!
Students practice hands-on, practical problem solving skills all while learning about the California Gold Rush. Your students will be inspired to think outside the box!
The best age range for this resource is 8+. Please look at the preview to determine if this resource works for your age group. Younger students may need some help with some of the more difficult codes.
You can use the pre-labeled clues or you can challenge older kids to choose/find the decoder that works for each of the clues. A set of labeled and non-labeled decoders are included for differentiation. A “How to Decode” puzzles is also included.
In addition to learning or reinforcing the subject matter, my escape rooms encourage teamwork and critical thinking. As a “timed” challenge, students will be engaged from beginning to end.
This escape room includes fun, colorful signs to take class pictures with at the end of the mission. Signs include “Puzzle Master”, “She did all the work”, “Genius”, “We did it” and more! Hang the pictures in your room, send them in a parent newsletter or share them on social media.
An answer key and easy to follow teacher directions are provided.
Time needed: 30-60 minutes
I have included a 6 question formative to complete as proof of understanding. Each “clue” also has one question to answer to ensure comprehension for a total of 10 questions. Many times students rush to solve the puzzles without reading or comprehending what they read. The questions need to be answered correctly before they can win!