During Reading: Jigsaw (developed by Elliot Aronson)

  • This strategy is designed for cooperative learning.
  • The idea is analogous to a jigsaw puzzle in that the "pieces" or topics of study are researched and learned by students within groups and then put together in the form of peer teaching between groups.
  • Instructional technology can easily be incorportated into the jigsaw strategy. Research can be accomplished via the internet on-line encyclopedias. Presentations can be developed with various software packages and enhanced with video camera pictures, students voices, music, and movind illustrations from other sources in to the presentations.

Note: The teacher's preparation and planning is key for the success of this project. It can be set up for a couple of days or a couple of weeks, depending on the nature of the topic, the students who will be conducting the research, and the extent of the research that is involved.

Why use the Jigsaw during-reading strategy?
  • The jigsaw is an efficient way to learn the course material in a cooperative learning style.
  • The process encourages listening, engagement, and empathy by giving each member of the group an essential part to play in the academic activity.
  • It helps build comprehension.
  • Group members must work together as a team to accomplish a common goal; each person depends on the others. No student can succeed completely unless everyone works well together as a team. This "cooperation by design" facilitates interaction among all students in the class, leading them to value each other as contributors to their common task.
How to use the Jigsaw during-reading strategy.
  • Introduce the strategy and the topic to be studied.
  • Divide the class into 4-6 member groups; each member becomes an expert on a different topic/concept assigned by teacher.
  • Members of the teams with the same toic meet together in an expert group with a variety of resource materials and texts available to explore their topic. Also, a single reading from the textbook or another source could be used to complete the assignment.
  • The students prepare how they will teach the information to others.
  • Everyone returns to their jigsaw teams to teach what they learned to the other members.
  • Team members listen and take notes as their classmate teaches them.
  • All students are given a quiz or exam on the overall topic which has been taught in sections within each jigsaw group.
(see below for an example of how a Jigsaw activity can be used in a mathematics classroom)

´╗┐In a mathematics classroom students can be divided into the small groups and be given the same multi-step problem to work on. The students will then be reorganized into jigsaw groups and the teacher would have them share and discuss each original group's solution. Another example could be used before a unit has begun. Different sections of the new chaper could be assigned to each group (section 1: exponents, section 2: adding and subtracting exponents, etc) and the same procedure would then be followed.

(This activity has been adapted from http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/jigsaw)
Laura Soscia