Celebrating Black History Month with a virtual escape room

Hatboro-Horsham School District  |  Posted on

Students use clues such as maps, riddles and primary and secondary locations to find out where Hartman is and the location’s significance.

To celebrate Black History Month, teachers in Hatboro-Horsham School District thought of meaningful ways to immerse students in their lesson plans. Rachel Hartman, whose home school is Hallowell Elementary, is currently teaching fourth grade at Hatter Academy, and came up with the unique project, “Where in the World is Mrs. Hartman?”

“I am always looking for ways to make learning more engaging for my students,” said Hartman. “I thought this would be a great way to engage them in learning about Black history, and to make it memorable for them.”

Each learning experience is set up as an “escape room” where students are in small groups in breakout rooms. They work together to analyze clues, which include riddles, maps, and primary and secondary resources to find the state, city and exact location Hartman is in. Then the students write a paragraph to explain why it’s important to know about the events that took place there and the change that came out of these historical locations. After the reflection, the activity is wrapped up with teacher instruction and class discussion.

Hartman says her class will engage in one of these activities one or two times per week. Significant events and locations include Brown A.M.E. Church in Selma, AL; Juneteenth in Galveston, TX; the lunch counter sit-in at the F.W. Woolworth’s Building in Greensboro, NC; the Underground Railroad and the White Horse Farm in Phoenixville, PA; school segregation and the Daisy Bates House in Little Rock, AR; and the Beale Street Music District in Memphis, TN.

Hartman’s hope is that students learn about the influential people and places in Black history, including both struggles and victories.

“I want my students to know that it’s ok to have difficult conversations that can sometimes be uncomfortable,” said Hartman. “Every experience is valuable.”