Incremental Learning: ‘Snowball’ Techniques

Incremental learning helps pupils tackle complex issues A demonstration of a scaffolding approach where evidence and information are rolled out gradually to build up an understanding of difficult subjects or concepts. The ‘snowball’ technique can be used to tackle difficult subjects or concepts by gradually building knowledge and understanding. It is used here in an AS lesson but could also be effective from KS2 onwards

A History calls at the President Kennedy School in Coventry explore the sinking of the Belgrano during the Falklands conflict. The issues surrounding exclusion zones, peace plans and official secrets are slowly unfolded by giving students different source information. After absorbing the evidence, they swap information with one other student and then with two more, giving them a clearer picture of the facts and arguments. Philippa Cordingley, director of the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education, helps explain why and how this works.

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