Teaching Macbeth? Looking for some fun activities for Macbeth? Use this Macbeth escape room for a fun revision lesson.
I have fond memories of the first time I studied Macbeth. It was during Grade 12 English, and we read the play and watched a video adaptation of the play. The assessment was to pick one of the scenes to perform, which I did with two of my friends in that class.
We performed the witches scene, Bubble, bubble, toil, and trouble. We got dressed up and teased up our hair. We felt silly, and we were not accomplished actors, but we had fun.
The fact that I still remember it (and some of the lines too!) shows that it was a powerful experience that shaped my understanding of Shakespeare and the world.
And that’s really what we want to leave our students with, isn’t it? Fond or powerful memories of the texts that they learn in English at school. Because we love literature and we know how powerful it can be in shaping people’s thoughts, beliefs, and ideas.
So in that vein, let’s have a look at a fun way to review Macbeth.
What is an escape room?
I’m going to do a quick outline of what an escape room is in this post because I’ve written in more detail about them elsewhere (see here for more details).
An escape room (or breakout box, depending on how you run it), is a series of puzzles that students complete to ‘escape the room’. Students typically work in pairs or small groups, so it’s a collaborative activity.
Often teachers award prizes to the first (correct) finishers, so the element of competition and the novelty of the game often ensure students engage with and enjoy the game.
Why use an escape room?
Again, I’ll be brief because I’ve covered this in more detail elsewhere, but escape rooms are a fun way to review content.
They’re also an easy way for teachers to check student understanding and a fun culminating activity at the end of a unit of work.
Who is the Macbeth escape room for?
Usually, Macbeth is studied in Grades 9-12, so that’s who this escape room is aimed at. You can use it for younger year levels, but you would likely need to give them more time to complete the game or give them more hints while playing.
When should I use this Macbeth escape room?
This Macbeth escape room is designed to be used after studying Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Students will find the Macbeth activities easier if they have engaged with the plot, characters, themes, important quotes, and figurative language in the play. Students will also be more successful if they have practiced close reading skills.
What does this Macbeth escape room cover?
As a revision of the play, the Macbeth escape room includes tasks that ask students to
- Arrange major plot points in the correct order
- Match character descriptions to characters
- Match quotes to themes
- Identify figurative language
- Practice close reading skills
- Complete optional reflection activities
How can I run this Macbeth escape room?
You can run this Macbeth escape room in a variety of ways, depending on how much prep time you have, how much interaction you want to have with students, and how much chaos you can handle.
If you don’t have a lot of prep time, and you want students to work mostly independently so that you can get done with some other work finished (ahem, grading), you can run this as a breakout box.
If you choose this option…
Chaos is low because students stay at their seats, work through all of the tasks, and then come up to you with an answer sheet that you can check just by checking the codes.
This way of running the Macbeth escape room is low teacher input but means that you will have time to do other tasks. You can still check students understanding because they’ll get an answer sheet and if they have the wrong answer, then read the wrong code then they will have a wrong answer somewhere.
One downside of this is that you can’t clarify misunderstandings as students work through the tasks. But that more than makes up for it if you’re pressed for time and you really need to get other work done (ahem, grading).
The second way you can run this as a breakout box
This requires students to do a task at a time and have the correct answer before you give them the next task. This option is more chaotic than the previous option and requires a little more prep because you need to separate out the tasks.
The advantage of this option is that you can check students’ work and clarify misunderstandings as they go along. But you will be constantly interrupted doing this option, so don’t expect that you’ll be able to complete other work.
The third way that you can run the Macbeth escape room…
Is the most chaotic option. It requires high teacher input and a little bit more prep. This option is to use it as an escape room with stations for each task.
You’ll set up all of the tasks at stations and students will be free to move around the room to work at each station. To control the chaos, you can always set a timer and say students need to remain at each station until the time is up. Then students might get a bonus of five minutes for the station that they didn’t finish.
This keeps kids on task because they know there’s a time limit and if they don’t finish the task, they can only redo one task at the end.
The Macbeth escape room option will require you to circulate around the room and it enables greater interaction between students and yourself.
Another easy way to use this Macbeth activity is to…
Use each of the activities separately. For example, you could use the plot arranging task as an activity after reading or viewing the play.
Similarly, you could use the quotes/themes activity as a pre-reading or pre-viewing activity.
No matter how you choose to use this Macbeth escape room, it is versatile enough to be used in a huge variety of ways. It’s a great addition to your existing Macbeth teaching materials or British literature curriculum.
When revising, what would you rather do…
Reread your notes, do flashcards, or analyze quotes on a piece of paper and write out an answer.
Or would you rather do a series of puzzles and games that still check your understanding, but make it a bit more of a competition and a bit more exciting?
So, if you’re teaching Macbeth, get ready to throw out your boring lesson plans for Macbeth revision, and check out this fun Macbeth escape room. Find out more here.
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- 12 excellent teaching resources for Macbeth – make Macbeth easy
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- Teaching Shakespeare in high school: 7 easy tips
- 15+ Shakespeare worksheets for your ELA classroom
- 7 easy tips for teaching William Shakespeare’s sonnets
- 20 of the best of William Shakespeare quotes for your ELA classroom