A "Jigsaw" Activity

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


Paleontology is an excellent hook for educators to use to teach science, as we all grew up in awe of the giant dinosaurs, or have had our curiosity awakened by the fossils we found while wondering the beach.


We will use the "jigsaw" technique to explore paleontology. Students will be divided into 4 groups. Each group will explore their specific webpage in class or at home. Members of each group will become "experts" on their assigned paleontology topic(s). Then, the groups will disperse and reassemble into new groups that will include one member from each of the former groups. In the duration of one class period, each of the "experts" will provide a brief summary of the essential information about the topics they were assigned to their new group. At the end of this class period, a general discussion will be held about these paleontology topics.

Group 1: Explore Morphology

Group 2: Explore Hot Topics in Paleontology

Group 3: Explore Taphonomy

Group 4: Explore Ichnology

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] .