Appendix: A Short Guide to the Jigsaw Classroom

Kellie Johns

The Jigsaw Classroom

Through the jigsaw cooperative learning model, one’s intellectual, emotional, and practical abilities can be simultaneously developed. Myriad opportunities are provided for students to be active, “think and argue, and act creatively and innovatively in their learning process” (Nopiyanto et al., 2021, p. 27).

Structured small group cooperative jigsaw learning activities effectively increase participation (Drakeford, 2012), independence, discipline and organisational skills (AlKhaibary et al., 2021), enhance student learning motivation and student learning outcomes (Nopiyanto et al., 2021), and improve students’ conceptual understanding (Palennari, as cited in AlKhaibary et al., 2012). In addition, as no one else in the group is doing the same thing, each student experiences a higher sense of ownership and accountability to the members of their group (Dabell, 2019). As well, each student in each group becomes the teacher, encouraging cooperation, friendship and knowledge development (Dabell, 2019).

However, challenges accompany this transformative process (AlKhaibary et al., 2021):

  • Moving from passive to active learning requires the student to become more independent and autonomous, in so doing may increase anxiety (AlKhaibary et al., 2021).
  • The jigsaw method requires students to learn from each other (rather than from the perceived expert) and so learning cannot succeed without students working sympathetically together (Dabell, 2019).
  • The expectation of the jigsaw approach is that all group members participate equally; the teacher/organiser will need to monitor and encourage participation (Dabell, 2019).
  • For a task to be successful, everyone must take part, exchanging pieces of information and learning from each other (Dabell, 2019).


Jigsaw activity steps, as set out in this resource, are a general guide only and can be adapted as needed for use with students, clients, carers or community participants (adapted from Dabell, 2019):


  1. Divide students/ clients/ carers/ participants/into manageable-sized jigsaw groups (five to six-persons).
  2. Appoint one student/ client/ carer/ participant/from each group as the group’s representative/leader.
  3. Divide the topic into five to six segments.
  4. Assign each group’s student/ client/ carer/ participant to explore/discuss/find information about one segment.
  5. Give each student/ client/ carer/ participant/time to share information with their jigsaw group, and /discuss/reach consensus over what the group will convey to other groups.
  6. (whole) topic knowledge is shared by having the representative/leader from each jigsaw group join other groups, telling the ‘new’ group what was found/discussed.
  7. Bring the students/ clients/ carers/ participants/back into their original jigsaw groups.
  8. Each group’s topic knowledge is collated.


During the jigsaw classroom session, the workshop leader:

9. Floats from group-to-group, observing the process.

10. At the end of the session, each group could present (in a format decided on by the group) their work.



AlKhaibary, A. A., Ramadan, F. Z., Aboshaiqah, A. E., Baker, O. G., AlZaatari, S. Z. & AlZaatari, S. Z. (2021). Determining the effects of traditional learning approach and interactive learning activities on personal and professional factors among Saudi intern nurses. Nursing Open, 8(1), 327-332.

Dabell, J. (2019, May 8). What is the jigsaw classroom technique? SecEd.

Drakeford, W. (2012). The effects of cooperative learning on the classroom participation of students placed at risk for societal failure. Psychology Research, 2(4), 239-246.

Gonzalez, J. (2015, April 15). 4 things you don’t know about the jigsaw method. Cult of Pedagogy.

González, V. A., Orozco, F., Senior, B., Ingle, J., Forcael, E. & Alarcón, L. F. (2015). LEBSCO: Lean-based simulation game for construction management classrooms. Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, 141(4), Article 04015002.

Nopiyanto, Y. E., Sutisyana, A., Raibowo, S. & Yarmani. (2020). Blended learning with jigsaw in increasing interest, motivation, and learning outcomes in sports sociology learning. Kinestetik: Jurnal Ilmiah Pendidikan Jasmani, 5(1), 26-34.