M&S Making a Mark - Michael Marks

Activity ideas

This page suggests ways in which old and new images can be used with different subjects, as prompts for classroom and homework activities.

KS3/4 Citizenship

  • Make a list of the personal qualities you think you would need to (a) survive a journey to a foreign country not speaking the language, and (b) set up your own business.
  • An obituary is something written about a person after they have died. Write an obituary about a known or imaginary person to describe their life, qualities and characteristics. 
  • Find out about what happens in other cultures when a person dies. There are many resources on My Learning about death customs that will help you find out more.
KS3/4 History
  • In the 1880s there were anti-Jewish 'pogroms' in Russia. Find out what a pogrom is and make a list of reasons why Michael Marks might have emigrated to England.
  • Refer to the Michael Marks timeline and work out how old he was when he arrived in England. Talk about what it might have been like for him to leave his country of birth at that age.
  • Look at the map below - A marks the town called Slonim where Michael Marks came from. Imagine you were travelling from Slonim to Leeds in the 1880s just as Michael Marks did, and write a diary of your experiences. Think about how you would travel, what route you would take, where you would stop, what you would need to take with you and the hazards you might come across.

KS3/4 Enterprise

  • Use the link below to find what an 1884 penny would be worth in today's money
  • Make a business plan for your own company. You might want to think about:
    - its aim
    - what will your business achieve?
    - what will its name be?
    - who will your competitors be, do your 'market research'
    - what will your USP be?
    - what will it cost to 'start up'?
    - how long it will take you to 'break even' and how much profit will you make in your first year? 
  • Then do a SWOT analysis - think about your business in terms of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
  • Imagine you are working for Michael Marks in the 1900s and he asks you to promote his new shops - how would you go about that? Remember it's the 1900s - there's no internet or television!
  • What sort of technology could you use to make a new shop different and exciting. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using lots of technology in stores?

KS3/4 Literacy

  • Write a 'press release' for a new shop opening today. Look at the M&S Eco store resource for ideas and at this Press Release Template.
  • Transcribing is writing something that has previously been filmed, recorded or hand written. It should be exactly what people have said, not what you think they meant. Write a hand written letter or make a recording of someone in your class talking about a memory. Then ask that person to transcribe your letter or recording using a computer. Make a note of any differences you can see.

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