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School Library System: Information Literacy Escape Experience

The Disappearance of Daniel Bennett:

an information literacy escape experience


Overview: This escape experience is designed for a team of 5-6 students who are tasked with solving a series of puzzles in order to break into a number of locked boxes to retrieve a usb drive. Students will be exposed to information literacy concepts and practices. Once students unlock the usb drive, they'll be asked to make a decision based on what they've learned throughout the experience.

Set up: 

  1. Begin by ensuring you have all of the physical items needed. (See list below.)
  2. Then, go through the printables list, and print them out, following the instructions for each. 
  3. After all of the paper documents are printed, go through the instructions to passcode the USB drive. 

Physical Items Needed

  1. Backpack
  2. Big Lockbox*
  3. Small Lockbox*
  4. 5 digit word lock*
  5. 4 digit number lock*
  6. Windows Laptop with a USB Slot
  7. USB Drive
  8. Printed Materials
  9. Scotch Tape, Writing implement, paper
  10. Sticky post-it note
  11. Packing tape or access to a laminator for the photo ID
  12. Library book on the topic of privacy

*Starred items can be found in a BreakoutEDU kit, or purchased separately.

Digital Items

Save this file to your USB drive.

Create a folder in your USB drive and call it Lock. Save the files below onto the Lock folder in the USB drive

Set up Instructions

Once you have ensured you have all of the physical items, you have passcoded the USB drive and loaded the digital files onto it, and you have printed the printable items, you can begin to place everything where it needs to go.

Find a book about privacy rights in your library. Place the Bookmark inside the cover and put the book back on shelf. Write the call number, title and author on the Overdue Notice and set aside for now, you will use that later.

Tape the Ben Franklin Quote to the cover of the laptop.

On the laptop, open a browser. Clear your browser history (see instructions here)

  • Open the Circle Website (
  • Open the Twitter feed (
  • Open the Google Form (

On a sticky note, write: “Zotero: only one tag at a time!” and place it over the webcam of the laptop. Close the laptop and set it aside for now, you will use it later.

Place the following items into the small lockbox:

  • The CypherKey pieces
  • The Passcoded USB Drive

Set the 4 digit number lock to 1577 and use it to lock the small lockbox.


Place the following in the big lockbox:

  • The small lockbox, locked with the 4 digit lock (1577)
  • Overdue notice with the call number, title and author written down.
  • The DOI document
  • The YouTube Video ID
  • The right ½ of the torn Article Notes Page

Set the 5 digit word lock to TONEE and use it to lock the big lockbox.


Place the following items in the backpack:

  • Big Lockbox
  • The AdminLetter
  • The Coversheet
  • The Newspaper
  • The Emails
  • The StudentID
  • The Birthday Card
  • The left ½ of the torn Article Notes Page
  • Laptop
  • Scotch tape
  • Pen/pencil and paper (or a pad of paper)


Lastly, write the following problem solving prompts for the students on the board to help them through the experience.

  • What problem/goal are you trying to solve? Remember your objective!
  • Remember to look at materials you haven't "used" yet.
  • Move around, change your perspective and look at something you haven't looked at.



To get started, open and print these documents.

***Put a link to all of the docs together for printing all at once, and then have each separate with instructions on where they go.***

Visual Setup

Introductory Script

Read the Following to the Students

Welcome to the Disappearance of Daniel Bennett! A couple of ground rules: This experience includes online elements: You have access to a computer. You don’t need to open any installed programs or files on the computer except an internet browser like Chrome, Firefox, or Edge. Almost everything you need is on this table but you may be prompted to go find something elsewhere. Remember, communication is important! Share what you find, and if you’re stuck other eyes may help. You can get up to 2 hints at any time if the whole group agrees.

And now, onto the game...

You are a member of the student board at McConie School of Excellence and Professional Studies. There have been some instances of cyberbullying at the school and the school administration is investigating the option of installing student monitoring software. Before they do so, they want to hear the views of the student body.

The student board president, Daniel Bennett, has been asked to give a presentation to school administrators in one hour, but he hasn’t shown up. He left his things for you at the circulation desk, which we brought here for you. He said there is a flash drive somewhere in his stuff that has what you need. You have one hour to find, access the flash drive and get the materials to give to the school board.

Also, Daniel left you this note…..  [hand them “Daniel’s note”]

You have 60 minutes, good luck!


Please take a moment to fill out the feedback form on the experience:


A collaboration between the School Library Systems of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and Monroe One BOCES, as well as the library staff at SUNY Geneseo and the University of Rochester.

Designed by: