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The grade six students at Oakenwald School did something a bit different this year, using their curriculum to create an escape room in their school. 

The idea of an escape room was presented to the grade six classroom at Oakenwald School earlier in the year. Leanne Olfert, the grade six teacher, said the class had already been working on puzzle-solving and were really excited about the idea.

"I think it was an idea to try and have students learn in a different type of environment," Olfert said.

oakenwald escapeMadilyn Cruz, Leanne Olfert, and Zoey Millar show off their new, Canadian themed escape room.It took about three months to complete, but the escape room, titled 'Back to the Canadian Future', is finally complete and open for students across the division to come and try.

Olfert says it wasn't easy though. The class started with brainstorming ideas, which she said was tough because they had a lot of good ones. They eventually settled on their social studies theme, which was Canada.

"I think we kind of wanted it to be Canadian themed," said one of the grade six students Madeline Cruz. "We wanted to kind of have something about our country in it."

"Our goal with the whole escape room was to try and connect the escape room to as many parts of the grade six curriculum that we could," Olfert explained.

Before the escape room could even start, the students had to bring their idea to a panel at Pembina Trails School Division. Olfert says the students gave an amazing presentation and the panel gave them more money to work with than they had originally asked for.

Zoey Millar, another grade six student, was involved in creating the backstory. She said her favourite part was learning about different events in Canadian history.

The escape room took about three months to complete but it was finally ready in June. The staff gave it the first test and were unable to escape.

"I think our clues were too tough for (the staff) to solve," Cruz smiled. "Even though some of the kids got it."

"I think it was a really good learning experience for the students," Olfert continued. "We learned a lot about our students through the whole process."

The school has invited a number of divisional schools to try out the escape room, located in an unused classroom at Oakenwald. The room features a number of boxes with locks, a variety of Canadian paraphernalia, and different objects that can be used to solve the various clues. Students will be given 30 minutes to escape. During that time, a few Oakenwald students will be sitting in chairs inside the room making sure that the group isn't wandering or touching stuff it should be. One of the students sits at the main desk, offering clues to groups who may be stuck.

"You need to be able to think outside the box," Cruz said about the room.

The grade six students also decided to ask for $2 per person, with all the proceeds going to CancerCare Manitoba and the World Wildlife Foundation.

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