Contact Us

For advice about planning a visit please contact us on 020 7942 4777 or email us.

Teacher News

Receive monthly updates about what's new from the Science Museum to support your teaching.

Discussion formats



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 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:



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:



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:

Discussion formats149.7Kb .pdf

Related links

Related classroom activities