‘Escape room’ challenge wins Guardian University Award for Teaching Excellence

Interactive project tackled young people’s anxieties in maths.

An escape room-style challenge to help children overcome their fear of maths has won the prestigious Guardian University Award 2019 for Teaching Excellence.


Oubliette saw teams work together to complete a series of brain-teasing tasks. These included participants dancing their way to a target number in a 1970s club, calculating trajectories and velocities with a projectile launcher on an alien landscape, unlocking Ancient Egyptian mysteries and much more.

Inspired by the TV series Crystal Maze, it was developed by students at Manchester Metropolitan and led by Dr Mark Peace. What they created was new hands-on learning scenarios for young people to overcome their anxieties around maths.

The project picked up the award for helping the students, who came from a variety of subject areas in the University, to develop their confidence, work together and for their use of research to inspire them to develop the escape rooms.

Its external impact was impressive too: more than 1,500 young people from across the North West visited Oubliette – the French word for dungeon – during its six-week run in summer 2018.


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