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Jigsaw Groups

Jigsaw Groups
Jigsaw groups are a method of organising students so that the whole class can conduct an in-depth study
of a topic or issue within a relatively short period of time. Topics are analysed and broken down into
discrete research tasks or activities. These tasks form the pieces of an information ‘jigsaw’. A group of
students is allocated one of the jigsaw tasks to investigate. Each expert jigsaw group then reports the
results of its findings back to the other groups, thus gradually building up a detailed and complete
‘picture’ of the topic.
Planning
1. Identify the topic to be investigated.
2. Divide the topic into jigsaw segments to be researched.
3. Divide the students into small groups, with as close to equal numbers in each group as possible, eg
a class of 30 students would have five groups of six students if the topic divided into five research
segments.
4. Identify and locate resources for each segment of the topic (ie each jigsaw group).
5. Prepare task cards, set a time frame for the exercise and arrange a suitable setting for the final
presentations.
6. Decide the sequence of the final presentations.
7. Devise/select appropriate ways of researching and presenting information.
Managing
1. Explain the process to students.
2. Assign each student to a jigsaw group and explain that the purpose of each group is to learn as
much as possible about the topic on the task card.
3. Students discuss what they already know about the topic, noting questions they have or areas to be
researched.
4. Explain to students that each expert jigsaw group will need to access and read source materials, make
a summary of key points, work cooperatively and decide how their information will be presented.
5. Students could then simply work as a collaborative group, assigning roles, eg scribe, illustrator and
sharing research tasks.  As an alternative, students in each group may choose to work initially as
individuals, dividing the assigned task into individual segments for research. The individual students
then report their findings to their jigsaw groups. The groups then discuss key points/features and
reach a consensus about the contents of their final group report and how it will be presented.
6. Monitor each group’s progress and assist as necessary.
7. Each jigsaw group presents its findings in the order pre-determined by the teacher, perhaps
displaying their work in the classroom.  Members of other jigsaw groups can take notes during
presentations, ask questions of the presenter(s) etc.
8. Share and reflect on the students’ contributions. Summarise and question to form a complete
coverage of the topic.
9. Evaluate such aspects as group dynamics; the contribution of individuals to the group; the balance
of information acquired on the topic.Jigsaw Groups
Jigsaw groups are a method of organising students so that the whole class can conduct an in-depth study
of a topic or issue within a relatively short period of time. Topics are analysed and broken down into
discrete research tasks or activities. These tasks form the pieces of an information ‘jigsaw’. A group of
students is allocated one of the jigsaw tasks to investigate. Each expert jigsaw group then reports the
results of its findings back to the other groups, thus gradually building up a detailed and complete
‘picture’ of the topic.
Planning
1. Identify the topic to be investigated.
2. Divide the topic into jigsaw segments to be researched.
3. Divide the students into small groups, with as close to equal numbers in each group as possible, eg
a class of 30 students would have five groups of six students if the topic divided into five research
segments.
4. Identify and locate resources for each segment of the topic (ie each jigsaw group).
5. Prepare task cards, set a time frame for the exercise and arrange a suitable setting for the final
presentations.
6. Decide the sequence of the final presentations.
7. Devise/select appropriate ways of researching and presenting information.
Managing
1. Explain the process to students.
2. Assign each student to a jigsaw group and explain that the purpose of each group is to learn as
much as possible about the topic on the task card.
3. Students discuss what they already know about the topic, noting questions they have or areas to be
researched.
4. Explain to students that each expert jigsaw group will need to access and read source materials, make
a summary of key points, work cooperatively and decide how their information will be presented.
5. Students could then simply work as a collaborative group, assigning roles, eg scribe, illustrator and
sharing research tasks.  As an alternative, students in each group may choose to work initially as
individuals, dividing the assigned task into individual segments for research. The individual students
then report their findings to their jigsaw groups. The groups then discuss key points/features and
reach a consensus about the contents of their final group report and how it will be presented.
6. Monitor each group’s progress and assist as necessary.
7. Each jigsaw group presents its findings in the order pre-determined by the teacher, perhaps
displaying their work in the classroom.  Members of other jigsaw groups can take notes during
presentations, ask questions of the presenter(s) etc.
8. Share and reflect on the students’ contributions. Summarise and question to form a complete
coverage of the topic.
9. Evaluate such aspects as group dynamics; the contribution of individuals to the group; the balance
of information acquired on the topic.

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