No one could accuse Christy Henson’s students of not being engaged in their math lesson Friday.

Henson spiced up the lesson for her second-graders at Sterling Elementary School last week with an “Escape the Classroom” activity, mimicking the escape-room games that have become popular in several cities.

The activity revolved around the idea that the students were locked in the classroom until they solved a set of clues and found the key to escape.

Each clue involved a math problem of some sort. A large digital clock at the front of the room counted down the 36 minutes the students had to solve the problems and get out.

“I showed them a video yesterday that was the mad scientist who was going to trap them inside the room because they’re smarter than he is and he wants to use their brain power,” Henson explained, while students darted around her searching for clues and solving the math problems.

“He’s given them the puzzle clues to solve, and this one is all about subtraction with single digits.”

Solving one clue led the students to the next.

“We’re trapped in our room, and we have to get all the answers right to figure out the lock,” said Natalie Santiago, a student in the class. “And when we get the key, we’re free.”

The activity required a lot of planning on Henson’s part, but she said it was all worth it.

The last group of students escaped with seven minutes left on the clock.

“I was so impressed with how well they worked together, solved the puzzles and didn’t give up,” Henson said afterward.

She hoped the activity boosted the students’ confidence in their math skills.

“They’re really good kids, and they deserve to have some fun,” she said.

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