By Shaun Ryan
For a recent creative writing project, i3 Academy students applied their plotting skills to assemble three escape rooms and then invited the public to test them.
You’re trapped in an underwater cave, the captive of some of Greek mythology’s most dangerous creatures — the sirens. It’s dark, you have very few supplies and time is running out …
There’s only one thing to do: Escape!
That’s what several people did recently at i3 Academy in Palm Coast when students in teacher Corinne Schaefer’s creative writing class invited the public to try out “Odysseus’ Curse” and two other “escape rooms” they created.
An escape room is an adventure game where players must find clues and solve puzzles to “escape” within a set amount of time. But the students’ escape rooms were more than simply entertainment. They offered a unique approach to learning the craft of story-telling.
“In creative writing, we’re learning how to make an environment seem more realistic,” said ninth-grader Hannah Auletti. “So we decided to put our skills to the test. We decided to write a backstory for an escape room. Then, we ended up creating an actual escape room.”
In addition to establishing a setting, the students created a flow chart to connect puzzles that aspiring escapees would follow to rewards they’d receive along the way.
“We had to do a lot of planning, and we had to do the very microscopic details,” said ninth-grader Makayla Yingling.
Professional writers might recognize this process as plotting.
“I think they (the students) saw that writing is so much more than just putting something on paper,” said Schaefer. She said they learned the importance of planning.