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Discussion formats

 

Overview

Classroom discussion is a great way for students to explore the science that relates to their lives.

Choosing the right discussion format will really help you structure a lesson. Good formats are designed to encourage participation and help students feel comfortable expressing their opinions.

The formats below will work for a broad range of discussion topics.

Marketplace

Marketplace is an excellent technique for using small-group discussion to disseminate a large amount of information to the whole class. It also encourages students to explore several different angles or ideas. In this short film, teacher Andrew Davids explains how to run a marketplace activity:

 

Role-play

When students have similar views on a topic, role-play can be a good way to get them thinking more widely about the issue. In this short film, teachers Beth Hickey and Andrew Davids explain how they use role-play:

Watch this short film for a taster of what's in store...

 

Socratic seminar

The Socratic seminar really emphasises the role of listening in a discussion, and can be useful for managing larger groups. In this short film, teacher Beth Hickey explains how to run a Socratic seminar:

 

Snowball

The snowball format allows students to voice their opinions in smaller groups first, and build up in stages to a whole-class discussion. This is great for mixed-ability classes and makes it easier for less confident students to contribute. In this short film, teacher Andrew Davids explains how to run a snowball activity:

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