UDL 5.3

Jigsaw is a form of cooperative learning where students become “experts” on the content or materials and teach each other the key terminology, understandings and learnings of the research or analysis of the text. Initially, the students are broken into small groups in which each group works on a particular section of a theme, lesson or reading content. The content could be a short reading section in a chapter of a book, research material on a specific topic or a precise area in academic subjects (e.g. natural disasters, people in the civil war, science instruments). In each “expert” group, the students work together to read the assigned text or research material, analyze and comprehend the content, summarize the text and understand key terms, timelines, etc. Once the students have become experts on their topic/section, each expert moves into another cooperative learning group (e.g. jigsaw group) that has one expert from each of the earlier groups such that all content from the lesson or theme can be shared/taught in the second group. Because it is small group in nature, each student has the opportunity to communicate and share what he/she has learned and teach other students the content. This process helps students to learn how to work together to break down and understand the material as well as orally share what they have learned. This supports both comprehension of the material as well as increasing incorporating language in academic group work.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Collaboration Tool

Jigsaw Student Note-Taking Form

A collection of note-taking forms for students to use during Jigsaw collaboration. The forms guide students in gathering, sharing and listening to information. This set includes basic written forms in both lined and unlined versions.

Grade 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Reading, Listening, Speaking · 2 pages

Collaboration Tool

Jigsaw Student Note-Taking with Guiding Questions

A collection of note-taking forms for students to use during Jigsaw collaboration. The forms guide students in gathering, sharing and listening to information. This set includes note-taking forms with guiding questions.

Grade 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Reading, Listening, Speaking · 2 pages

Implementation Tips

Selecting Content
Have the content/material broken into sections prior to meeting with the class and setting up jigsaw groups. Make sure that each section or content can stand alone and doesn’t need the other sections in order to be understood.
Splitting Up Students
It may be important to select the students in each “expert” and jigsaw groups as it may be valuable to differentiate the learners within the “expert” groups, so there are varied learning styles and strengths within each group.
Using Jigsaws Beyond Analyzing Texts
Don’t limit jigsaws to reading/analyzing text. You can also support student’s learning and process by providing other ways to access research material such as educational websites that the students can research and/or adding visual content through video or realia.
Integrating Technology
Use [[|Google Slides]] for a virtual jig saw. Create a Google Slide deck and share it with the entire class. Then, assign each group one slide and a topic or text. Small groups can upload images and words to synthesize their learning. The "expert" can then rotate to each group to present the slide along with additional information on their group's topic.


Literature – Historical Fiction
Students are reading a historical fiction about the American Independence. The book tells the story as written by a young girl named Emma during the time period of May 1774 – July 1776. The book is written in journal-entry from. As part of the analysis of the text, each “expert” group reads 1-2 journal entries and summarizes the plot line as well as analyzing important information they have learned about the historical period and the lifestyle of the times. The “expert” then shares what he/she has learned with the jigsaw group.
ELL – Science
Students are learning about different habitats or ecosystems that animals live in. Each expert group is assigned a habitat to learn and study. The “expert” groups research the habitat including the weather, plants and animals that live within the habitat and create a visual representation of the habitat. After the “experts” have created the habitat, they break into their respective cooperative learning group. The habitats are set up as learning station and at each learning station the “expert” of that habitat in the group shares vital information about the habitat.
Music – Building Background Knowledge
Students are learning about various instruments used in different cultures. Each “expert” group has access to the instrument and research material about the instrument. Students use a notetaking form to gather basic information about the instrument. Once students have become “experts” on their instrument, they meet with their jigsaw group and share what they have learned about their instruments.

Related Strategies