This event is an online treasure hunt held over Zoom, the online conferencing platform. Participants join a Zoom meeting where a host (one of the organisers) will welcome the group and play a video introducing the storyline and the “hook”, the reason for completing the puzzles. The group of participants will then be randomly divided into breakout rooms, these will be the teams for the treasure hunt, each team will work together to try to complete all the puzzles first. Each team will be accompanied by a facilitator, who will ensure the hunt runs smoothly explaining any puzzles or additional material and will provide hints if the team is struggling, this will be done by the facilitator sharing their screen with the rest of the team. At the end of the event, after ~1 hour, all of the teams are brought back to the main room, where winners are announced and the finale video is played and the overarching story is resolved. Each puzzle is STEM-based, with interesting facts unlocked after each puzzle is completed, all based around a central theme of communication within nature.
- Adult citizens
- Children 7-12
You can do it with all those groups, but we did it with professionals from different fields like public engagement or the cultural and creative sector.
This event increases young people’s engagement with STEM subjects by recontextualizing learning in a fun orientated way. By using the format of a game, learning becomes interactive and you can integrate problem-solving with learning about a topic. The audience should feel empowered by successfully solving the puzzles, with guidance from the faciliators. It is our hope that these activities will lead the audience to view STEM subjects in a more accessible light, and perhaps encourage them to consider careers in STEM areas in the future, even if they previously thought the area of study was too difficult or advanced for them, from a purely academic viewpoint.
Before anything, you will need to decide on a theme or a subject for treasure hunt. When this is decided you can start moving forward to design the puzzles and story.
You will need to set up a registration form and decide on how you wish to host your online game, this may involve purchasing a subscription to an online video chat service.
After this has been done, you should start marketing the event as early as possible. Use the story and theme behind the treasure hunt as a hook and incorporate this into the marketing material. It is recommended to start marketing at least one month prior to the event.
All videos, puzzles, and content should be completed two weeks before the event, and then beta tested the week before. This gives time to incorporate any feedback into the content of the event before the event itself runs. These puzzles can be created using a number of online platforms, or hosted remotely and shown by sharing the screen of a facilitator.
Set up your online conference meeting and share any links or documents that are required with those who have registered, before the start of the event.
You need someone to act as a master of ceremonies, who will welcome participants and guide the event. In addition, you will also need a facilitator for each breakout room to lead a team. These facilitators should be familiar with the technical aspects of the event and be familiar with the chosen platform, they will need to share their screen with the puzzles detailed on it. We recommend using zoom as you can then use the annotate feature so each participant can draw or add notes on the puzzles if necessary, and the team can chat with each other and try to find the solution to the puzzle. The facilitator will then move the team onto the next puzzle and so on until the end. If a team finishes very quickly, the host should have some spare puzzles to try out until ten minutes before the end of the event, at which point the breakout rooms end and then everyone returns to the main room for the MC to congratulate the winners and play the final video.
As mentioned above, the author of this format recommends using Zoom as your online conferencing platform, but there are other similar services available. Participants need access to computers/smart devices as well as a stable internet connection.