Snowball Groups/Pyramids

Rationale:

generate well-vetted ideas, narrow a topic, develop decision-making skills

Procedure:

This method involves progressive doubling: students first work alone, then in pairs, then

in fours, and so on. In most cases, after working in fours, students come together for a plenary session in which their conclusions or solutions are pooled. Provide a sequence of increasingly complex tasks so that students do not become bored with repeated discussion at multiple stages. For example, have students record a few questions that relate to the class topic. In pairs, students try to answer one another’s questions. Pairs join together to make fours and identify, depending on the topic, either unanswered questions or areas of controversy or relevant principles based on their previous discussions. Back in the large class group, one representative from each group reports the group’s conclusions (Habeshaw et al, 1984; Jaques, 2000).

Source: University of Waterloo, Centre for Teaching Excellence