A "Jigsaw" Activity

This page was written by Erin Klauk as part of the DLESE Community Services Project: Integrating Research in Education.


Methane (natural gas), while frequently developed with petroleum, also occurs in association with coal. Coalbed methane accounts for about 7.5 percent of U.S. natural gas production. Recent U.S. estimates (Rice, 1997) indicate more than 700 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of coalbed methane gas in place, with over 100 TCF economically recoverable--a five-year supply at present rates of consumption (Coalbed Methane Activities in the Energy Resources Program (more info) ).

What are the benefits from coalbed methane development on these lands? Who benefits from coalbed methane development on these lands? What are the impacts (e.g. health, economic) on the Crow peoples and the local environment?

To explore these issues, use these comprehensive webpages that provide essential information about numerous topics that address these questions.


We will use the "jigsaw" technique to explore many dimensions of coalbed methane development on the Crow Nation. Students will be divided into 4 groups. Each group will take 45 minutes to explore assigned parts of the website. Members of each group will become "experts" on your assigned topics. Then, the groups will disperse and reassemble into new groups that will include one member from each of the former groups. For the next 25 minutes of the class, each of the "experts" will provide a brief summary of the essential information about the topics they were assigned to their new group. This summary is to include key points about what is particularly interesting and/or important about these issues. We will end the class period with a general discussion about the overall issue of coalbed methane development on the Crow Nation addressing the bold questions above.

Group 1:

Explore the geology, physiography, and hydrology of the Crow Nation. What is the general geologic setting, what rock units, structures and landforms are present? What issues involve the quality and quantity of water resources?

Group 2:

Explore the climate, biota, and culture heritage of the Crow Nation. Who lives in this fragile ecosystem--both plants and animals, and Native people.

Group 3:

Explore information about coalbed methane development, and the exploration and development history of this area.

Group 4:

Explore the environmental and human health impacts, and polices on the Crow Nation.

For further information about teaching with the jigsaw technique see: Barbara Tewksbury, 1995, Specific Strategies for Using the Jigsaw Technique for Working in Groups in Non-Lecture-Based Courses, Journal of Geological Education v 43, p 322-326 [Tewksbury, 1995] .