Cooperative Learning Sample Lesson

Using the Jigsaw Cooperative Learning Method

Students
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Cooperative learning is a great technique to implement into your curriculum. As you begin to think about and design this strategy to fit into your teaching, consider using the following tips.

  • Present the material first, cooperative learning comes after students are taught.
  • Choose your strategy and explain how it works to the students. For this sample lesson, students will be using the jigsaw strategy.
  • Assess students individually. Although students will work together as a team they will also be working individually to complete a specific task.

Here is a cooperative learning sample lesson using the the Jigsaw method.

Choosing Groups

First, you must choose your cooperative learning groups. An informal group will take about one class period or the equivalent to one lesson plan period. A formal group can last from several days to several weeks.

Presenting the Content

Students will be asked to read a chapter in their social studies books about the first nations of North America. Afterward, read the children's book "The Very First Americans" by Cara Ashrose. This is a story about how the first Americans lived. It shows the students beautiful pictures of art, clothing, and other Native American artifacts. Then, show students a brief video about Native Americans.

Teamwork

Now it's time to divide students into groups and use the jigsaw cooperative learning technique to research the First Americans.

Divide students into groups, the number depends on how many subtopics you want the students to research. For this lesson divide students into groups of five students. Each member of the group is given a different assignment. For example, one member will be responsible for researching the First American customs; while another member will be in charge of learning about the culture; another member is responsible for understanding the geography of where they lived; another must research the economics (laws, values); and  the last member is responsible for studying the climate and how the first American got food, etc.

Once students have their assignment they can go off on their own to research it by any means necessary. Each member of the jigsaw group will meet with another member from another group that is researching their exact topic.For example, students that researching the "First American's culture" would meet regularly to discuss information, and share information on their topic. They are essentially the "expert" on their particular topic.

Once students have completed their research on their topic they return to their original jigsaw cooperative learning group. Then each "expert" will now teach the rest of their group everything that they learned. For example, the customs expert would teach members about the customs, the geography expert would teach members about the geography, and so on. Each member listens carefully and takes notes on what each expert in their groups discusses.

Presentation: Groups can then give a brief presentation to the class on the key features that they learned on their particular topic.

Assessment

Upon completion, students are given a test on their subtopic as well as on the key features of the other topics that they learned in their jigsaw groups. Students will be tested on the First American's culture, customs, geography, economics, and climate/food.

Looking for more information about cooperative learning? Here is the official definition, group management tips and techniques, and effective learning strategies on how to monitor, assign and manage expectations.