The Snowflake teaching method

We offer schools and universities a turn-key solution for integrating sustainability in their courses. Our games and other teaching material can be used isolated as add-ons in existing courses, or to develop and deliver a whole new course on sustainable development.

The games that we offer in association with the online Snowflake Toolkit, are each used as part of a sequence of learning activities:

  1. Preparatory part: students prepare using the learning material on the Snowflake Toolkit (circa 5 hours performed as self-studies)
  2. Game seminar: interactive seminar centered around one of the games (3-4 hours classroom time, in one session or split between several sub-sessions)
  3. Follow-up part: students consolidates their learning by going through additional learning material on the Snowflake Toolkit (circa 5 hours performed as self-studies)

Each such learning package thus corresponds to 13-14 hours of study time including 3-4 hours of classroom time. Several learning packages can be added together to collectively form a course module. You can use the Snowflake Education’s learning material to deliver a full course on sustainable development, or to deliver a small module that is integrated in a subject-specific course.

Each learning package has a number of intended learning objectives tied to them, explicitly described learning activities, and a number of assessment components. The content and learning objectives are aligned with the literature on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). We advocate an early introduction to the key competences for sustainability expressed by Wiek et al (2011):

  • Systems Thinking Competence
  • Futures Thinking Competence
  • Values Thinking Competence
  • Strategic Thinking Competence
  • Interpersonal Competence

Those are also addressed by UNESCO (2015) in their recommendations for how to integrate sustainability in education.

In the Snowflake Toolkit learning packages, and embedded in the learning provided by our collection of educational games, we emphasize three particular dimensions of learning to be integrated in any secondary education and early in higher education programs:

  • Awareness about sustainability, which includes learning facts and building a general basis of knowledge, but also to realize concepts and orders of magnitude
  • Systems thinking, and especially the ability to address complexity in real-world challenges by thinking in terms of feedback-loops, system resilience, and interconnection between actors
  • The ability to embrace different views by realizing that opposing positions are based on different values, opinions and stakeholder perspectives; and to be respectful and humble towards differences in general and differences to one own’s set of opinions in particular

We believe that active learning (with the help of board games, simulations and role plays) in combination with the concept of the flipped-classroom (in the form of digital learning blended with active learning seminars) is the most efficient way to organize an introduction to sustainable development in any course, and in a form that is generic to any study program.

Especially, we have seen that our method strongly establishes the following four advantages as compared to alternative route:

  • Very cost-effective for teachers and schools as compared to alternative routes
  • It has been proved to provide high-quality learning for students, which is well documented in scientific papers
  • It is straightforward and easy to use for educators, in contrast to other schemes out there
  • And it is fun and engaging for the students

If you have any questions about the background of this work or how you could integrate our solutions in your classroom: contact us or purchase our learning materials.


United Nations General Assembly (2015), Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, A/RES/70/1, available at:

Wiek, A., Withycombe, L., & Redman, C. (2011). Key competencies in sustainability: a reference framework for academic program development. Sustainability Science, 6(2), 203–218.