Time: 30-50 min
Place Mat Activity: This activity is great for utilization with groups of 3-5 students to explore concepts, ideas, or content. It can be used on its own or in conjunction with additional group work. It is low key, and a safe way to share information. It is useful when trying to work collaboratively on content or concepts. This process is especially good for students who do not necessarily enjoy speaking in front of the class but like to share their ideas with their peers.
Materials needed: You will need a large piece of paper (flip chart paper) for every group in the room. You will also need to provide a colour fine tip marker for every participant in the room. Make sure that each table has different coloured markers – this will help identify the student’s work and encourage them to take ownership of their own work.
Time Requirements: 30-50 minutes
- Choose different content topics or concepts for each ‘table’.
- Write the content or concept on a card and place it on the table.
- Divide students into groups of 3-5 and have them sit at a table.
- Provide a place-mat for each table, and a coloured marker for each participant.
- Instruct students to first think about the concept or content on their table – no talking. Then instruct the students to write their ideas, answers, etc. in the area of the place-mat that they have identified as their own (most often the closest section of the place-mat). Instruct students to leave the middle section of the place-mat empty.
- Now instruct participants to share their ideas with their own group – going around the table. Once they have completed personal presentation, have the group summarize the groups consensus of ideas and write it in the middle section of the place-mat.
- You can have each group identify one member to present their place-mat back to the entire class.
Function in the class: This can be used to begin a class to create a common ground for students or review concepts from previous learning, or in the middle of a class to use content and transform it to concept, or at the end of the class to review content and concepts of the day. (See Place-mat diagram)