Implementation of ‘BreakOUT the Glass Ceiling’ (SOI-IT-210)

As a teacher of English as a Foreign Language in Italy, I immediately considered implementing this Learning Scenario by Idoia Zapirain Karrika because: 

  • it allows students to develop their language skills with engaging, real-world resources through task-based activities;
  • it uses gamification to promote learning in a way that is not passive. Students are encouraged to create their own game but they are not left to their own devices since the teacher, as a facilitator, provides a model to be replicated or improved;
  • it focuses on citizenship, allowing the teacher to work both on digital safety and on gender equality;
  • it provides an engaging opportunity to promote collaboration skills and creative expression.

Integration into the Curriculum 

Besides these reasons, I found this interdisciplinary pathway particularly suited to one of my classes, made up of 13 Applied Sciences second-year students (11 boys and 2 girls) aged 15-16, who needed to work on their collaboration skills. This LS allowed us to combine some of the topics covered by the subjects of their course, such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science with Citizenship topics recently introduced into the Italian national curriculum for high schools.

Our Learning Steps 

We started immediately after Safer Internet Day, working fully online on Microsoft Teams. During our first lesson, I spent 10 minutes sharing details, objectives and expectations and illustrating the vocabulary, starting from the concept of breakout and the phrase “to break the glass ceiling”. Students then used Mentimeter to brainstorm what their perception about women scientists was and how visible their achievements generally are;  we then checked prior knowledge about eSafety and Creative Commons Licenses playing the Quizizz integrated into the LS. 

Mentimeter Brainstorming Wordcloud by students

At the end of the first 45-minute lesson students were assigned homework: read the Europeana blog post about Elisa Leonida Zamfirescu and write down notes in the shared Google Slide presentation to synthesize the main information.

Screenshot of one of the slides of the note-making exercise: a timeline 

At the beginning of the second lesson, we had a class discussion about what students had learnt about this scientist and her achievements. Then they were randomly assigned to four different breakout rooms where they were asked to play the Glass Ceiling breakout game designed for the original Learning Scenario which they managed to finish by the end of the lesson. As homework students were required to start researching and collecting information about two women scientists, one from the past and one from the present. They were shown the Europeana website and invited to use it to look for information and resources.

The following two online lessons were dedicated to working on the creation of their own breakout game: students worked in the same four groups on a Genially template shared by the teacher which each group could edit and personalise. I moved between the groups in order to support, provide explanations and alternative solutions to the issues raised. Some groups decided to explore the achievements of women who have contributed to tackling the current global health emergency.

Examples of quizzes created by the four groups for their breakout games 

Peer Assessment and Feedback 

During the last lesson, each group of students played another group’s game and later assessed it by means of the original assessment rubric transformed into a digital form.  Students generally provided positive feedback on their peers’ breakouts, which presented only minor problems, both in terms of the use of the language and game structure.

Results of the peer assessment activity 


As a final task, students were required to produce individual short videos with their reflections on the topic and the learning experience. 

In the final class discussion, a student pointed out that he had particularly enjoyed the possibility of creating the game and that this activity facilitated learning about the scientists. Another student affirmed she had realized how people still don’t know much even about the less invisible women scientists such as Marie Curie.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario?

BreakOUT the Glass Ceiling (EN-CUR-375) by Idoia Zapirain Karrika

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CC0 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the National Technical Museum “ Dimitrie Leonida”, Bucharest.

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