An ASCII puzzle for an escape room challenge

Designing for Children

Once your adventurers have decoded the puzzle, they can use the clue they discovered to unlock their next challenge. For the same escape room, I 3D-printed a second challenge comprising of a couple of maze boxes (Figure 4) that could be opened by twisting, pushing, and pulling. Young makers are very enthusiastic but often don't know the limits – that come with experience and maturity – of the materials involved. However, they can reveal some interesting failure points that you might not have considered. Figure 5 shows some of the pieces after being used in a classroom for only a couple of hours.

Figure 4: These 3D-printed maze boxes were in a different part of the escape room. This is how they looked immediately after printing.
Figure 5: After several hours of hands-on use, the maze boxes show signs of abuse. Absent direction (and sometimes even then), children tend to resort to the use of extra force to try to solve the problem at hand.

The Author

Scott Sumner is the Assistant Manager of the Charlie Noble Planetarium at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. He enjoys using Python to solve as many problems as possible.

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