Plagiarism Escape Room: A High-Interest Way to STOP Student Cheating

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A guest post by Allison Dugan

You’ll be kicked out of college!  You’ll never be able to have a well-defended argument!  It's just dishonest!  Each of my writing units begins with sharp warnings about plagiarism.  After starting class by channeling my inner drill sergeant, I utilize my inner Spock to logically explain how the act will affect my students in the now and in the future.  This is where the PLAGIARISM ESCAPE ROOM LESSON comes into play.  It makes students think and challenges them to discover the nuances of plagiarism.  It gets them asking key questions such as:   

How do I avoid plagiarism? 

Do I have to do more than just say it came from this website or that one?

The truth is that by the time students get to 10th, 11th, or 12th grade, they generally know what plagiarism is; some of them have been expertly practicing it for many years.  I'm sure we've all seen the student who put way more effort into cheating than it would have taken to just do the assignment.  But there is another kind of plagiarizer: the accidental one.  This is the kind of student we see way more often:  the student who doesn’t realize that what they copy and paste from Google is plagiarism.  The problem with plagiarism is that plagiarism lessons tend to be B-O-R-I-N-G, and getting students to pay attention to the rules and laws of plagiarism can be quite a daunting task!  So, I decided to come up with a lesson that would captivate their interest and put a STOP to plagiarism altogether:  the PLAGIARISM ESCAPE ROOM!  

How it Works

1.  The escape room works like stations, forcing students to move from one part of the room to another.

2.  Each station has a task: a quiz, a matching section, two speeches to compare, and a summary.


3.  Some of the stations just have one simple answer; others have multiple answers or require students to put items in sequential order.  For example, in this picture the girls had to get the terms in the correct order.  Only then would the code be correct.

4.  Each answer choice has a number attached to it.  This number is their code to break free!  If you have a Breakout EDU box, this lesson works perfectly-- or you can make your own with a lock box and some old combination locks. (Hide your candy or a certificate inside!)


5.  If they get the correct answer, the code will open one of the locks on the box.  Alternatively, you can have students check with you to see if they have the correct code.

6.  The students write their answers on their answer sheet and then have to check them before moving on.  If they don't get them all correct, I tell them which parts are wrong.  You can always make it more difficult by not telling them the specifics, but I felt that because of the time frame of our 42 minute classes, I needed to give them some hints.


7.  After a group finishes, they have a reflection quick-write to do while waiting on the other teams.

8.  Once everyone finishes, we take the time to go through it together and discuss each area.




The Takeaway

The experience was definitely a positive one!  The students reviewed, learned, identified, and applied their knowledge within this lesson. We will definitely be doing more ESCAPE ROOMS in the future!

Check out PLAGIARISM ESCAPE ROOM in my teachers pay teachers store HERE

About the Author

This is Allison's 5th year teaching!  She has taught 10th grade English, 10th grade English Language Lab (remedial English), 11th grade American Studies, Film Literature, Speech, and Creative Writing.

If you are interested in more of activities and lesson plans, check out Allison's Instagram @thoreaulylit.