A "Jigsaw" Activity

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


The populations of northern fur seals and other marine mammals on the Pribilof Islands have been declining since the early 1950's. Biologists speculate that this may be linked to intensive commercial fishing in the Bering Sea, which forces marine mammals to travel extreme distances in search of food such as small fish and squid (Danger in Numbers (more info) ). One suggestion has been to enforce and extend a 'No-Fishing' zone around the Pribilof Islands.

How might this act benefit marine mammals such as the northern fur seal? What impact does this have on commercial fishing vessels in the Bering Sea? What impact does it have on Aleut fishermen in the Pribilofs, and how might it affect the economies of St. Paul and St. George?

To explore these issues pertaining to the Aleuts on the Pribilof Islands, use these comprehensive webpages that provide essential information about numerous topics that address these questions.


(Time needed: approximately two hours)

We will use the "jigsaw" technique to explore the many dimensions of the Pribilof Islands. 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. Finally, class concludes with a general discussion about the topics surrounding the Pribilof Islands.

Group 1:

Explore the geology and physiography of the Pribilof Islands, and information about Beringia.

Group 2:

Explore the hydrology and climate of the Pribilof Islands.

Group 3:

Explore the flora and fauna of the Pribilof Islands.

Group 4:

Explore the culture heritage of the Aleuts and policy issues surrounding the Pribilof Islands.

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] .