Creative Shorts II Snowballs


Short Extension Activities: Creative Task for Secondary Mathematics
This short activity is called a snowball activity. This lesson is made for a Geometry class, but can be generalized into just about any subject. I would employ this technique toward the end of a lesson (probably toward the middle or end of the unit as well). It employs students writing questions, and then answering another question. It helps students see what other students in their class are having trouble with, and also helps boost their esteem by allowing them to answer another question.
This can also be used during a review period before a test, and if many students have the same problem, it is a formative assessment for you to reteach something that may not be clear to many students.

Class: Geometry
Unit: Transformations
Time: ~35 minutes
  1. Teacher will review with students the three different types of transformations: Translations, Reflections, and Rotations (2 minutes)
  2. Students will work individually and write down a question they have about transformations (2 minutes)
  3. Students will then crumple their paper and throw it across the room. Students will continue to throw the paper for another minute *Note: Remind students that only the paper they wrote their question on should be thrown, they should not crumple up blank paper to throw more. (2 minutes)
  4. Each student will then pick up one piece of paper from the floor closest to them. They will then write down a response to the question they picked. They should try to answer the question to the best of their ability. (5 minutes)
  5. Students will then re-crumple the paper they have and throw it across the room. Students will continue to throw the paper across the room for another minute. (2 minutes)
  6. Students will repeat steps 4 and 5 one more time. (12 minutes total).
  7. Students can then share their questions and read the responses that are written. A discussion can then be led with the students (10 minutes).

An option for doing this the first time in a class is to have students rate the activity on the last piece of paper they have. Then you can read their comments and adjust accordingly.

I did a snowball activity in my Business Law class (they wrote a scenario for an intentional tort, and then the student who got it wrote the tort and some details about it), and on average students rated this activity an 8/10. They loved the fact that they got to get up and throw things in class, while showing their expertise on a subject.