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Who lives in a house like this? – Lesson idea for introducing market segmentation. (GCSE Business)['

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Guest blogger Steph Walker gives her unique spin on the classic segmentation lesson. If you are looking for some fresh ideas you are in the right place!

Often, the most memorable lessons for pupils are those that have involved a problem-solving element. So how could I introduce the topic of market segmentation in an engaging and memorable way? Like many of us, I have used a chocolate orange to illustrate how the market segments and the chocolate is always a winner with pupils, but I wanted to generate a more active lesson.


It begins with me telling the class that I wanted to get to know my neighbours better, and so decided to go ‘bin ratching’ to investigate who might live there. At this point, I literally throw bin bags full of ‘rubbish’ to each group (approx 4 pupils per group). As you can imagine, this generates energy and quite a lot of squealing, as the pupils think I have thrown dirty rubbish at them!

Set the scene

I then explain that everything in the bag is clean and they have no need to worry (although some pupils still believe I actually went through my neighbour’s bins!)

To create a bit of atmosphere, I play the theme music to Sherlock in the background, as I explain they have to try to use the clues from the rubbish to tell me who lives in each house.

Student instructions

Students are given the following instructions on the whiteboard:

  1. You have been asked to find out who lives in a particular household.

  2. As the door is locked and everyone is out, the only clues you have lie in their rubbish.

  3. What can you tell from analysing their rubbish?


Obviously, a bit of planning is required for this lesson, in terms of gathering rubbish and planting clues in each bag, but once the bags are made up, they can be used year on year.

A sample bag could include:

· Jar of baby food

· Tin of Bob the builder beans

· Box of Cheerios

· Local newspaper

· Car insurance quote

· National newspaper

· Holiday brochure

Other ideas – bridal magazine / pet food / denture cleaner / Magazines / National newspapers / Holiday brochures / tickets from the cinema / theatre / events.

Some of these things can come from your own home, and then try family and friends. I also buy bits and pieces to add to it from the local supermarket and wonder what my customer profile might look like, as I buy a single ready meal, family pack of corn flakes, baby food and a magazine with planning for retirement.

Student lesson activity

From their bags of rubbish, pupils can be asked to feedback their findings to the class using specific examples of items they have found to justify their ideas about who lives in the household. Prompts can be given to help them make assumptions about household size / income levels / ages etc. and make links to types of products and services that household would buy.


This can be extended to link to why supermarkets give loyalty cards, and how they use them to gather information about target markets.


Once the feedback is gathered, and the rubbish is re-bagged for next year, I draw it back to how we can segment / split the market for a product into groups based on specific characteristics e.g. age / gender / income etc as they will have similar needs.

Steph Walker
Steph Walker Guest Blogger

Steph Walker

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