Online Article

Using the Jigsaw Cooperative Learning Technique

Average: 4 (4 votes)
Grade Level Ranges:
Grades 3- 5, Grades 6 - 8, Grades 9 -12
Content Areas:
Reading, Writing, and Communicating
Topic tags:
Jigsaw, cooperative learning, text, literacy, strategies, differentiation
Contact hours:

Teacher Quality Standards

  • QS I: Teachers demonstrate mastery of and pedagogical expertise in the content they teach.
    • Element B: Teachers develop and implement lessons that connect to a variety of content areas/disciplines and emphasize literacy and mathematical practices.
  • QS III: Teachers plan and deliver effective instruction and create an environment that facilitates learning for their students.
    • Element E: Teachers provide students with opportunities to work in teams and develop leadership.

PD resource content

Resource material

In this strategy guide, you will learn how to organize students and texts to allow for learning that meets the diverse needs of students but keeps student groups flexible. The research that originally gave credibility to the jigsaw approach—creating heterogeneous groups of students, diving them into new groups to become expert on a topic, and then returning them to their home groups—touted its value as a means of creating positive interdependence in the classroom and improving students’ attitudes toward school and each other.  The structure it provides also lends itself naturally to differentiating instruction.  Because learning experiences can be differentiated by content based on student readiness and interests, the jigsaw technique allows students to learn from text that is matched to their interests and independent reading level while also learning from their peers, who have worked with text that is appropriate for them.   

Resource Links


Filkins, S. (n.d.). Using the jigsaw cooperative learning technique. Retrieved November 24, 2015, from

Additional notes

For additional information, read the following book by Elliot Aronson and Shelley Patnoe, "The Jigsaw Classroom: Building Cooperation in the Classroom".