Effective Strategies for Undergraduate Geoscience Teaching Virtual Event Series

Jigsaws: Designing for success: January 31, 2013

Leader: Barbara Tewksbury, Hamilton College

This event has already taken place.

The jigsaw technique is a simple, well-structured cooperative learning strategy that emphasizes both individual accountability and achievement of group goals, both of which are critical for improved student learning in cooperative settings. In a jigsaw, the class is divided into teams, with each team completing separate but related assignments. When all team members are prepared, the class is re-divided into mixed groups, with one member from each team in each group. Each person in the group teaches the rest of the group what he/she knows, and the group then tackles an assignment together that pulls all of the pieces together to form the full picture, hence the name jigsaw. We hope you will join us to learn more about how to use this technique in class!

Jump down to: References and resources, including presentation slides, from this virtual event

Goals for participants are to:

  • Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of the jigsaw technique.
  • Learn how to design an effective jigsaw activity.
  • Be able to design a jigsaw activity for use in their own classes.

Duration - 1 hour
Format - Online web presentation via Adobe Connect web conference software with questions and discussion. Participants will receive an email with instructions detailing how to log into the event approximately one week prior to the event.


Barbara Tewksbury is a professor of geoscience at Hamilton College. She has spoken widely and published on geoscience education issues and has played a leadership role in the national geoscience education community for over a decade. She has given dozens of workshops to faculty in departments across the country and has been co-PI on a number of grants to offer workshops for geoscience faculty (including On the Cutting Edge). She is a Past President of the American Geological Institute and a Past President of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. She also served as President of the Geology Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research for three years. She is a fellow of the Geological Society of America and served as an elected member of the GSA Council.

References and Resources

Screencast of Jigsaws: Designing for Success.

Jigsaws webinar January 31, 2013
Click to view
Slides from Jigsaws webinar January 31, 2013 (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 1.4MB Jan31 13).

Recommended online resources

  • Jigsaw assignments and templates (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 4.8MB Jan31 13) handout from Barb Tewksbury's presentation.
  • The Jigsaw module from On the Cutting Edge provides information on what jigsaws are, their benefits, and how they can be used in class. It also features a collection of example jigsaw activities that can be used in geoscience classes. See the Pedagogies in Action collection for the full collection of examples that can be used across the curriculum.

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