What is a Jigsaw lesson?

What is a jigsaw lesson? A jigsaw lesson is a group teaching activity that takes a large topic and breaks it down into small manageable chunks. To run a jigsaw lesson activity first you need to separate your class into groups of 3-4. When students are split up into their groups this first group that has been formed is known as a ‘home group. After students are in their home groups had them a different question to each member of the group. The homegroup has students who are assigned different questions and are tasked to work on them alone. After students work on their questions for a set amount of time students from other tables that have been assigned the same questions come together to form an ‘expert group’. When students move into their ‘expert groups’ the group aspect of the activity comes into play. Once the groups are formed students when work together to flesh out their question and answer it to the best of their ability.
After another set amount of times students return to the homegroup and take turns discussing what each expert group talked about. The lesson ends with every student taking notes on their peers while they are explaining what their expert groups talked about on their questions.

Why should I use a jigsaw lesson? The jigsaw lesson encourages students who don’t talk to talk, breaks large topics into manageable chunks, it is a great for review activity, and the jigsaw lesson puts learning in the hands of students. With all of these great traits, there are some downsides to jigsaw group activities. A few pitfalls to watch out for when running a jigsaw lesson is having a Lack of student participation, if the expert group doesn’t understand a topic then the whole class won’t understand that topic,
groups can get distracted and not follow the intended plan, and uneven student count. On the bright side, most of the pitfalls can be avoided with proper planning and having an active classroom management strategy.

This sounds really cool but you there is no jigsaw lessons for my discipline. That’s where you’re wrong. I pulled a list of potential jigsaw lesson from the website Pedagogy in Action. There are lessons from art history to archaeology. From English to journalism. Even from computer science to health professions. There is always a way to create a jigsaw lesson.

For my TWS I used a Jigsaw lesson to review themes from a novel called Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya. We divided the class into groups and worked through the assignments. I feel the students were very receptive to it but you be the judge of that. I started by breaking class into groups of which ended with only 2 groups having four students. I then gave students time to read their book and answer their assigned question. After the confusion of the grouping system was explained everyone was reading and completing their question. When I signaled for groups to break into expert groups students changed group quickly without much confusion. After my lesson, I asked for feedback from my students and this is the jist of what they said. My students told me that liked having the small groups, enjoyed being able to talk instead of write, being able to talk when in a large group discussion they wouldn’t feel comfortable have been able to talk. Not all the feedback was glowing some students thought it was just another day of class.


Strategy 3: Jigsaw Activity – Allie’s TCH306 Webpage. (2017). Sites.google.com. Retrieved 2 December 2017, from https://sites.google.com/site/alliestch306webpage/products-services/strategy-3-jigsaw-activity

How to Use Jigsaws. (2017). Jigsaws. Retrieved 2 December 2017, from https://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/teaching_methods/jigsaws/how.html

Education World: Jigsaw Strategy. (2017). Educationworld.com. Retrieved 2 December 2017, from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/strategy/strategy036.shtml

Jigsaw – The Teacher Toolkit. (2017). Theteachertoolkit.com. Retrieved 2 December 2017, from http://www.theteachertoolkit.com/index.php/tool/jigsaw

The image came from : http://edtech2.boisestate.edu/reilleyd/502/jigsaw.html



I think I would give myself a B. I think its a decent paper, but it conflicts with the research topic you assigned and talks about a topic that is random.

One Reply to “What is a Jigsaw lesson?”

  1. I’m left a little confused by some of this. I understand what a Jigsaw lesson is, but I am confused about what the activity is that you are creating. If this is a “wing it” assignment, then what is “the assignment activity” that would be given to someone else? In other words, what is the actual assignment here? Just to create a jigsaw lesson? If that’s the case, though that is a rather thin assignment, why is the randomness of the topic a problem? And what is the research topic you are saying I assigned when you write “it conflicts with the research topic you assigned?”

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