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Dr Martha McGill

Consumer Revolution

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In this game, students must identify which eyebrow-raising products were really available in eighteenth-century Europe. It’s a quick, fun introductory activity that could work for a class on material culture, elite society in the eighteenth-century, commercialisation or similar topics. Split the students into group. You could give them a worksheet listing all of the products, but it’s more fun to have the products on separate slips of paper and hand them to each team in envelopes. (The page is formatted with the assumption that the products will be cut out.) Tell the students that of the fifteen products, nine are things that were genuinely available for purchase in eighteenth-century Europe, and six are made up. Give them 5-10 minutes to sort the products. When every group is finished, go through the answers and show them the pictures of some of the real products. Get the students to tally their scores and declare the winning group. Have chocolate for the winners if you like! Segue into a discussion of consumer culture.