There are many variations of this active learning technique and it is sometimes called the Snowball Throwing Technique (STT).

In a large-scale class, this technique can be used effectively to probe for readiness after pre-class preparation. For example, prior to the first day of class, instructors can ask students to read the syllabus. During class, the instructor poses a series of questions about the syllabus. Students write their answers on small pieces of paper, crumple them up and throw them at a box or trash can held by the instructor or learning assistant.

In classes in which students are English language learners, this technique has been successfully implemented in a team-based fashion. Students in groups can decide to ask a fellow student to answer a question by throwing a paper snowball with the question written on it. If a student is hit by a snowball, she/he/they have to answer the question (Susanty, 2016).

In this video, the students use a variation of Snowball to release and learn about stress and its impacts:

Stress can negativley impact learning (Medina, 2014, pp. 57-82)

References and Resources

Medina, J. (2014) Brain rules: 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home and school. Seattle, Washington: Pear Press.

Susanty, H. (2016) Use of Snowball Throwing Technique for Teaching Better ESL Speaking. English Education Journal, 7(1), 117-129. Available: