To buy or not to buy: Pre-assessment day 1

I started a new unit of inquiry with the students today. The central idea is “Marketing has an impact on the choices we make”.

We started off the session with a strategy called “Unscrambling the central idea” where student groups had to put together the central idea puzzle pieces, so it made sense to them. In my class they got it all the way it was meant, but in the other class they also came up with “Marketing has impact an(d) we make choices”. I thought that was quite thought-provoking as well.

Next we came together in the circle and talked about what the central idea means. I loved their descriptions, one of which even included the inquiry title. They seemed to be getting it quite well at that point.

Then we did “Walk about, talk about”, a strategy where the students write down anything they can think of about something. I used the lines of inquiry for this:

  • What is the purpose of marketing?
  • Marketing strategies and techniques
  • Responses to marketing

The responses were very good and after about 15 min we came back together in the circle to see what the students had thought of.

The discussion about the first line of inquiry mainly stayed on products we can buy/sell. I prompted the students to think of other kinds of marketing and then we moved on to marketing for good causes (helping people, recycling) and fun things (sports, theater, movies). Someone mentioned that the jumble sale the student council is arranging to raise money for new toys at school, is a good cause, and identified how they are marketing it.

The second line of inquiry (Marketing techniques and strategies) was fantastic in the discussion. The students thought of charity fundraisers (parties), store point/reward systems, special deals, people coming to homes, donation boxes, Kid’s menu toys at McDonalds, and secret/hidden marketing (the other class identified product placement too). Additional strategies were mentioned: email, sms, letters, posters, tv adverts, catalogues and more.

We did not get to discuss the third line (responses) too much, but the students talked about responding with pressure (feeling the need to buy it), anger (being disgusted by the price) and buying (and again, many more).


In our second session of the day, the two classes came together. But first my class and I talked about the central idea again. We looked at the important words in the C.I. and what they mean. We moved quickly on to the question whether we are influenced or whether we have a choice. Then we talked about informed choices. One excellent example was the choosing of eggs. Even though battery eggs are cheaper, the students said that an informed choice means we would think about the chicken’s lives and rather buy less eggs for more money (organic). We introduced the term ethical choice as well.

As we came together, the classes mixed and split into groups. They shared their results from the morning and then one member from each class recounted what the other class did. It was exciting to see how much they could learn from each other. As my class is the 8-9 year olds, and the other the 10-12 year-olds, the exchange was rich.

After sharing their experiences, the students were challenged to think about what our major project/focus and summative assessment could be. The groups were focused mainly on processes and strategies, but were very close to the actually planned assessment and their ideas will be helpful in informing our further planning.


All in all, this was an excellent start to an inquiry and I am looking forward to tomorrow where we will be looking at the big picture, the central idea and the summative assessment, or in other words, our goal. We will also brainstorm what a business requires. And then I will reveal to you as well what it is… 🙂


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