Are you looking for a cooperative learning structure that will really get your students working together? If so, the jigsaw strategy is for you! Using a jigsaw in your classroom is a great way to teach students to work cooperatively, as they truly rely on each other. Just like all of the pieces of a puzzle are needed to complete a picture, all of the members of a group are needed to complete the learning.
What is a Jigsaw?
The big idea of a jigsaw is that a small group works together to learn something. Each member of a small group is responsible to gather and report out about a subtopic to the other members. The individuals group members might work alone to gain the knowledge they report to their group, or they might work in “expert groups” made up of other students from their class. Here is an example of this cooperative learning strategy at work.
Fifth graders are learning about ancient civilizations. Today they are tasked with learning about Ancient India. They must learn about Daily Life, Crops, Dress, Geography and Celebrations. First, the teacher splits the class into groups of 5 students. Each group of 5 divides the subtopics among themselves and agrees to meet back in 30 minutes. Next, the five students each head off in different directions to meet with other students from the classroom in “expert groups.” They have clipboards and blank graphic organizers in hand.
Jane meets with a small group of students by the window. They are poring through a few books and watching videos that their teacher has highlighted as great resources to learn about Daily Life. The students chat about what they consume agreeing that certain pieces of information are important and recording them on their organizers. Raphael stands in another corner of the room with a few other students. They are digging through some boxes of artifacts that their teacher has set up for them as clues. Each artifact will teach them something about Celebrations in Ancient India. They are also scanning QR codes and reading some related online content. Their information is also being recorded on an organizer.
At the end of 30 minutes, students double check their graphic organizers with the others in their expert groups and head back to their original groups. Here, each student shares out to their home group all that they learned about their subtopics, referring to their graphic organizers as they go. Tomorrow, each home group will work together on creating some type of presentation that puts all of their learning together.