Development Developed in 1971 by Professor Elliot Aronson and his class of graduate students. Developed to combat racial tensions in recently desegregated schools It works by encouraging teamwork and collaboration among students, each student becomes an integral part of the lesson. Students must work together as a team to accomplish a common goal. Most importantly a student cannot succeed without the help of their group members and classmates.
How it Works The teacher presents a topic to the class The classroom is then divided into small groups of 5 to 6 students per group Each student is responsible for researching a different part of the topic
ExampleThomas JeffersonIrida will research Jefferson’s early lifeChristie will research Jefferson as Governor of VirginiaJim Will research Jefferson’s PresidencyMike will research Jeffersons legacy
To create cooperation among the whole class, each student will meet with their counterpart from the other groups in the class; this group is called the “Expert Group” In expert groups students can compare information and rehearse their presentations After meeting in expert groups, the students return to their original groups and present their part of the project (Jim will teach his group members about Jefferson’s presidency)
Variations Instead of assigning each student with a part to complete individually; each group will be responsible for researching a component of a subject matter The group will then present their part of the project to the rest of the class.
Jigsaw Pros: Efficient way to learn material Students have an active role and are directly engaged with the material. Students must gain a deeper understanding of the material in order to teach it.
More Jigsaw Pros: Each student makes an important contribution to the group. Encourages discussion, problem solving, and learning. Encourages cooperation.
Jigsaw benefits as documented by Aronson &Patnoe (1997): Improved attitudes toward school. Increased self-esteem. Improved academic achievement. Improved perception of support from peers. Lower absenteeism
Cons: Does not work well for topics in which students are expected to know all components equally well. Students accustomed to competing may take some time to adjust to this technique. Lower-achieving students may fail to adequately convey the information to the home group.
More Cons: In expert groups, certain students may try to dominate. Without a group task which incorporates all of the material, there is little incentive to learn from peer teachers. To prevent students from coasting, assign individual work that incorporates all aspects of the jigsaw topic.
Uses for the Jigsaw Method There are several different uses for the Jigsaw method. It allows students to help teach themselves and teach their fellow students. Jigsaw helps students gain a better understanding of material.
Uses in Literature Groups of students can each given a short story and each group is given a different character in the story to analyze. Example: One group examines the protagonist and another the antagonist. Debates and Role playing activities are also a beneficial use of jigsaw. Each group gets up and portrays their given character.
Uses in Science Jigsaw is an effective method to use for teaching science. Field trips are a great way to use Jigsaw. Example: Students can be broken up into groups and each group will be given a different type of rock to examine. Each group will then describe their rock and try to figure out what time.
Uses in Social Studies Jigsaw is effective in the History classroom. Example: Each group will be assigned a different aspect of World War II. One group gets the European front, another gets the Pacific front and a third gets the war on the home front. The students than can create an overall class discussion and educate the other groups on their area through discussion.