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THINK LITERACY: Cross-Curricular Approaches, Grades 7-12

Small-group Discussions: Place Mat

Introduction to Marketing, Grade 11 (BMI3C): Trends in Marketing (Issues and Concerns)

In this easy-to-use strategy, students are divided into small groups, gathered around a piece of chart paper. First, students individually think about a question and write down their ideas on their own section of the chart paper. Then students share ideas to discover common elements, which can be written in the center of the chart paper.


  • Give students an opportunity to share ideas and learn from each other in a cooperative small-group


Payoff Students will

  • Have an opportunity to reflect and participate.

  • Have fun interacting with others and extending their learning while accomplishing the task.

Tips and Resources

  • This strategy can be used with a variety of questions and prompts in a variety of applications for Introduction to Marketing (e.g., as an introduction to the course and/or unit and individual expectations, as a way to activate the sharing of background knowledge among students, as a way to stimulate the sharing of ideas and opinions, as a way to take group notes during a video or oral presentation).

  • Groups of 2 or 4 are ideal, but the approach can also work with up to 7 students in a group.

  • Large pieces of chart paper and markers are required.

  • One question or issue may be assigned to all groups in a class situation or several questions or issues for simultaneous consideration may be assigned. To start, each group receives a different question or issue to work on once they have completed their discussion; the groups rotate through the various questions or issues until all have been explored.

  • The Place Mat process may be timed.

  • Place mat also works well as an icebreaker when students are just getting to know each other.

  • This strategy can be used to determine considerations for purchasing a variety of products and services, the benefits of competition for businesses and consumers, and creating ideas for brand extension.

  • See Student/Teacher Resource, Place Mat Template.

  • See Teacher Resource for Place Mat Example.

Further Support

  • Give careful consideration to the composition of the small groups and vary the membership according to

the students’ styles of learning and interaction, subject-matter proficiency, and other characteristics.

  • Some students may benefit from being able to “pass” during group sharing.

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