By Katrina Schwartz
The first Breakout Angie Sutherland designed was in response to a teacher’s request for an activity to help her students improve their teamwork skills. The teacher was concerned that her students didn’t communicate well when they collaborated on projects and that they gave up too easily when an academic task became challenging. Sutherland immediately thought of Breakouts, activities based on the popular escape room experience where groups of people working together under time pressure solve a series of puzzles. As a technology integrationist for Batavia Public Schools, a district outside Chicago, Sutherland was excited to give the strategy a try.
“The growth for students when doing something like that goes beyond the curriculum,” Sutherland said. “I think it’s so important for us to encourage kids to have that productive struggle and how to handle that once you’ve encountered it. And this particular activity has so much value in helping kids overcome some fears for taking risks and failure.”