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Research: Jigsaw

Jigsaw is a small-group cooperative learning strategy which allows learners to


cover many elements of a given topic within a short time period. Working with
others, each student becomes an expert on one aspect of the topic under
study and gains an understanding of the other elements, through interaction
with and support of the other members of the group. There are four steps to
this strategy.
Grade Level: 5
Step 1: Establish Home Groups
Divide the class into home groups, one for each of the topics to be studied.
For this activity there are six topics, so divide your class into six groups (or as
in the chart below you may wish to combine shorter topics and make five
groups).
1. Introduction: Oil and How We Use It
2. When Oil Spills
3. Prevention is the Best Cure
4. Always Be Prepared
5. Response
6. What Can I Do to Help?
Note: A glossary is included as well for student reference.
Assign one of the topics under study to each of the students in the home
group. Duplicate and distribute sufficent copies of each reading selection.
Note: Heterogenous groups are most effective. Try to balance male/female,
personalities, strengths, weaknesses, talents, and interests. Some of the
reading selections are longer and more demanding than others. Care should
be taken to assign reading selections according to ability. Depending on the
numbers in your class, you may wish to assign two shorter selections to one
student.

The home group provides an opportunity for each person to share the
information they have gathered, answer questions and explain concepts to the
other group members, and in turn learn about the topics studied by the other
members of the group.
Home Groups
Home Group 1

Home Group 2

Home Group 3

Home Group 4

Home Group 5

Student assigned
Topic #1

Student assigned
Topic #1

Student assigned
Topic #1

Student assigned
Topic #1

Student assigned
Topic #1

Student assigned
Topic #2

Student assigned
Topic #2

Student assigned
Topic #2

Student assigned
Topic #2

Student assigned
Topic #2

Student assigned
Topic #3

Student assigned
Topic #3

Student assigned
Topic #3

Student assigned
Topic #3

Student assigned
Topic #3

Student assigned
Topics #4 and #6

Student assigned
Topics #4 and #6

Student assigned
Topics #4 and #6

Student assigned
Topics #4 and #6

Student assigned
Topics #4 and #6

Student assigned
Topic #5

Student assigned
Topic #5

Student assigned
Topic #5

Student assigned
Topic #5

Student assigned
Topic #5

Step 2: Establish Expert Groups


Next, redivide the students, this time into expert groups. All of those students
assigned Topic #1 will gather together in one group, all with Topic #2 in
another, and so on. All expert groups should contain at least one member
from each home group.
Expert Groups
Expert Group,
Topic #1

Expert Group,
Topic #2

Expert Group,
Topic #3

Expert Group, Topics


#4 and 6

Expert Group,
Topic #5

Student, Home
Group 1

Student, Home
Group 1

Student, Home
Group 1

Student, Home Group 1

Student, Home
Group 1

Student, Home
Group 2

Student, Home
Group 2

Student, Home
Group 2

Student, Home Group 2

Student, Home
Group 2

Student, Home
Group 3

Student, Home
Group 3

Student, Home
Group 3

Student, Home Group 3

Student, Home
Group 3

Student, Home
Group 4

Student, Home
Group 4

Student, Home
Group 4

Student, Home Group 4

Student, Home
Group 4

Student, Home
Group 5

Student, Home
Group 5

Student, Home
Group 5

Student, Home Group 5

Student, Home
Group 5

Step 3: Information Gathering by Expert Groups


Have expert groups explore the assigned topic, reading, discussing and
summarizing the information. The expert group should ensure that each

member is sufficiently familiar with the topic to convey the information to the
home group and respond to their questions.
Step 4: Information Sharing in Home Groups
Have students return to their home groups. Taking turns, ask the "expert" of
each topic to share their knowledge with other members in the home group.
For example, each of the Topic #1 experts explains the aspect of oil spills that
they examined to the other members of the home group; the Topic #2's
explain their reading selection, and so on.
Step 5: Communication
Once all information has been shared in the home groups, have each group
prepare a presentation. They may either take a position on an assigned issue
and prepare a presentation to defend it or they may answer an assigned
question.
Take a position
Sample issues:
The World Wildlife Federation has called for restrictions on shipping
near the waters of the environmentally sensitive Galapagos Islands. Do
you support such restrictions?
The process used to clean up after the Exxon Valdez spill did more
damage than it fixed. There are some people who suggest that the best
response would be to just let nature clean up our messes. Do you
support this position?
Sample Questions for Reflection:
Oil must be transported from where it is produced to where it is used.
Outline the risks and benefits of shipping oil overland by transport
tankers or through above-ground pipes or by sea in oil tankers.
Disasters such as the Galapagos oil spill make news headlines but
everyday motorists and homeowners improperly dispose of oil. Make
recommendations for the proper disposal of used oil.
Web sites for additional research:

Galapagos Online, http://www.galapagosonline.com/index.htm


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of
Response and Restoration,
http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/index.html
Oil Spill Basics: A Primer for Students,
http://www.cutter.com/osir/primer.htm