Dr Y’s Lab


  • Time: 15 weeks
  • Team: 3 people
  • Role: learning experience design
  • Methods used: paper prototyping, physical prototyping
The final escape room prototype

In this project our client, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH) asked us to design a learning experience to extend learning about naturalism beyond their We Are Nature exhibit and summer camps for 8-13 year olds. Our team extended learning to 14-18 year olds by designing an escape room, “Dr Y’s Lab,” to teach naturalism. Escape rooms are social, exciting, and suspenseful, which has the potential to engage teenagers in a topic that may appear boring at first glance. The puzzles in the escape room are centered around the topics of water, energy, and food, and prompt learners to consider how humans rely on nature and the effect we have on it.

Through collaborating with CMNH we determined learning goals and designed puzzles to address these goals, incorporating both learning science and game design principles to balance educational and entertainment goals. We prototyped individual puzzles first and built up to prototyping the whole room in a physical space. We did several rounds of testing of individual puzzles and of the room itself in varying degrees of fidelity. 

You can see the team blog for the project here.