A "Jigsaw" Activity

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


Gold is one of the most economically important metals produced. As of 1991, more than 83% of gold consumption went into jewelry, 6% was used for medals and official coins, 6% was used in electronic equipment, 2.2% was used for dental materials, and 2.8% was consumed in a variety of industrial applications. These markets support an annual gold production of about 2,200 tons worth almost $25 billion ([Kesler, 1994] ).

What are the benefits from gold mining on these lands? Who benefits from gold mining on these lands? What are the impacts (e.g. health, economic) on the Assiniboine and Gros Ventre 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 gold mining on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. 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 gold mining on the Fort Belknap Reservation addressing the bold questions above.

Group 1:

Explore the geology, physiography and hydrology of Fort Belknap. 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 Fort Belknap Reservation. Who lives in this fragile ecosystem--both plants and animals, and Native people.

Group 3:

Explore the types of gold deposits, and the exploration and development history of this area.

Group 4:

Explore the environmental and health, and related policy issues related to gold mining on the Fort Belknap Reservation.

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] .