A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

February 28, 2007

Putting the Pieces Together: Jigsaw Methodology

Filed under: children,Education,General,life long learning,Teaching — avoiceofreason @ 11:42 pm

Ever have a day in the classroom where the students were engaged, involved and demonstrated clear signs of learning?  I did today, and I used one of the best Constructivist tools in the book, Jigsaw learning.

What is it?  Jigsaw learning is where a student becomes an expert at a piece of a large concept.  Other students are becoming experts at the other pieces of the puzzle at the same time.  Then they are able to put the individual pieces together to construct a whole picture.

How is “Jigsawing” Done?  As mentioned individuals are working within a team of three or four other learners on an individual component of a larger concept.  This is going on throughout the classroom.  After time is allowed for students to gather information, form inquiries, and develop a base understanding, they collaborate with the other students who learned the same piece from the different teams.  You have now created a group of experts of part of a concept. 

These experts go back to their main group and share their findings.  Each of the members now are fully versed as the combined energies of five learners has created stronger learning, deeper understanding, and formation of stronger inquiry skills.

When all is done the experts can serve as a panel for the rest of the learners to question in case any areas are still unclear. 

Assessment:  The amount of notes, questions, and time on task generated by this method is startling.  I try to use this method frequently, as well as all methodologies.  Today, the amount of learning, notetaking, and expressions of higher level though processes being demonstrated awed me.  I challenge all educators to use this method that powerfully combines inquiry, research, constructivism, and collaboration for learners.



  1. This is interesting. I didn’t know there was a name for this type of collaboration.

    I manage a team performing business process support. As the segment of business we’ve taken on for the customer is so large, and required a series of ‘experts-in-a-hurry’, I set my team to to something very similar. Each member assumed ownership of a specific area of business, became a focal point for this field, and then performed a sort of Reader’s Digest presentation of their expertise to the group of the most important things they would need to know on how each area effected another. I actually questioned myself when I set them to do this, but we were under such a tight time constraint I saw no other way to get a functional team in a hurry.

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