Snowball activities involve learners in a collaborative discussion as they share their ideas, consider the ideas of their peers and build upon these. Snowball activities connect learners, as they rely on one another to build a rich collection of ideas or collaboratively solve a complex problem.
In a snowball discussion, learners begin by reflecting independently on a text, challenge or problem posed by the teacher. They develop their idea or solution.
Learners connect in pairs and discuss their individual ideas. They can use the discussion to comment on and improve one another’s ideas or reach a consensus.
Two pairs of learners connect and repeat the process in a group of four. This doubling pattern continues until all learners are connected in single group, and the teacher records a final collection of ideas or supports learners in reaching an overall consensus.
The activity is very flexible – it can become a writing task, where learners record their ideas in a written document then comment on the work of their peers. This can be easily adapted for students learning from home using online word processing tools that enable learners to review and comment upon one another’s work.