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What are Market Place activities?

This strategy gives students the responsibility for planning and developing their own learning on a particular topic. It’s good for developing a sense of independence and confidence (qualities vital in themselves for effective learning) and for building collaborative team-working skills – co-operation, trust, reporting back etc. It can be used at all levels from KS2 (and probably earlier) up to A level. (At universities it’s been used informally for many decades under the heading ‘you go to today’s lecture, I’ll go to tomorrow’s and we’ll exchange notes’).

Example Activities

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What’s the strategy?

a) Take a topic which has sub-topics – A, B, C, D and E. Split the class into 5 groups, each taking one sub-topic, and ask each group to create a poster-style presentation on their sub-topic (with a tight word limit so they don’t re-write everything they read). This is simply a way of helping each group to get to grips with their sub-topic. You can give them the ‘research material’ on which to base their poster or send them away to research it properly.

b) When each group is in command of their material it’s time to move on to stage 2 – gathering information about the other sub-topics from the rest of the Market Place. One person in each group stays with their stall. His or her job is to ‘teach’ the basics of their sub-topics to other students visiting their stall. The rest of the group go out visiting – their task is to bring back the core knowledge about each of the other four sub-topics.

c) After a set length of time everyone returns to their original groups and shares knowledge – so everyone in sub-topic A should now be briefed on B, C, D and E and so on. How effective this is depends on the hard-work and sense of responsibility shown by those visiting other sub-topics and on the strategy they used – a team could have split up, sending one person to each of the other stalls or they could have stuck together as a group, visiting each other sub-topic in turn.

d) Now everyone should have built up knowledge of all 5 sub-topics it’s time to do something with that knowledge – consolidation with the teacher, a test to identify what’s been understood and what’s been tricky, a discussion on whatever the overarching issues are above and beyond the detail (see examples below).

e) Debriefing and re-use of the strategy – it’s vital to discuss what worked and what didn’t and WHY. Without this discussion students won’t see the purposes behind the strategy, won’t appreciate the explicit skills they’re developing. And it’s just as vital to re-use the strategy with the same class at least once so they do it again with more understanding of what’s required and how best to carry out the tasks.

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Teacher's Toolkit: Raise Classroom Achievement with Strategies for Every Learner

by Paul Ginnis


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Some possible uses of Market Place activities

There are multiple opportunities for using the Market Place strategy. Although the ideas below are listed by Key Stage they could all be used with other ages so don’t just home in on one KS.

Here are just a few:


KS2 – comparing and contrasting developments across periods. For example – what kinds of transport, leisure, housing etc was used by Romans, Vikings, Tudors etc? Each group represents a period of time e.g. Romans and researches various aspects of social life, partly at least from images. Their stallholder stays at home to tell other groups about the Romans while the visitors go out to investigate developments in the other periods. This leads to looking at patterns of change and continuity across time and helps build chronological understanding.


KS3 – the same approach as at KS2 could be used for comparisons across time.

In addition

- explore causes or ideas about causes e.g. give each group an explanation for why World War One or World War Two began so that by the end of the market the whole class has encountered a variety of explanations – the launch pad for assessing their links or significance.

- build-up the story of what happened by giving each group part of the story of the development of the Black Death or of the Industrial Revolution. How can the whole class piece this together, making links between the parts of the story?

- explore consequences – each group is given one element of the impact of the dissolution of the monasteries so that the whole class builds a picture of the overall impact.

- assessing sources – which group is telling the truth or part of the truth about 1066? Each group gets a source giving the justifications for William and Harold being king or (different activity) of the events at Hastings. Other groups’ not only find out what each group has to say but can quiz them on their access to information, favouritism etc.


GCSE - variations on all the above but also

- SHP Development Studies – aspects of Medicine or Crime and Punishment for each period of history (see Egyptian Medicine exemplar below) or use to explore a theme e.g. surgery across time. Each group would research the story of surgery in their given period – then they visit the range of periods to look for and assess changes and continuities.

A Level

A level – the strategy seems particularly important at A level as a way of building independence and team-work in preparation for university.

- Introduction to the Crusades – at the beginning of the course each group investigates a different Crusade and provides information to other groups on causes, events, consequences with the aim of establishing initial ideas on similarities and differences between Crusades.

- Introduction to Tudor Rebellions – each group takes a reign and investigates rebellions (causes, events, degree of success) and then they explore each others’ findings to create an overview of patterns of rebellion to go on to study in depth.

- aspects of a reign or government e.g. was x a success? Each group look at a different aspect of x’s reign or period in power before passing on their conclusions to visitors to their stall. This creates an initial hypothesis about x’s success to explore in more depth.

- historiography – each group has the thoughts of one historian or group of historians. By the end of the market place activity the whole class will have been introduced to a range of interpretations - then explore their sequence, how they inter-relate, their strengths and weaknesses.

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Example Activities

The Medical Marketplace – an Ancient Egypt exemplar

Help your students gain independence, learn from each other and build up their knowledge of Egyptian Medicine.

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This page

What is a ‘Market Place’?

What’s the strategy?


Possible Uses


Example Activities


Other Activity Areas

Using Activities

Types of Activities

Hot Seating

Washing Lines

Timelines & Living Graphs

Role Plays


Decision Making

Physical Maps & Family Trees

Archaeology & Mysteries

Creating Communities

Market Place

Miscellaneous Models

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