Overview

In this jigsaw-based activity, students learn about definitions (key components of a definition such as required terminology, definition structure, etc.) through class and group discussion, as well as peer-instruction. The class begins with a video that challenges students' preconceptions of definitions and classification systems. As a class, students then reflect on and discuss the video, and share their own preconceptions of what they believe a definition to be. The class is then divided into groups of 3-6 students and each group is given a text block on a topic related to the study of definitions. Students are responsible for becoming ...

Read More +

In this jigsaw-based activity, students learn about definitions (key components of a definition such as required terminology, definition structure, etc.) through class and group discussion, as well as peer-instruction. The class begins with a video that challenges students' preconceptions of definitions and classification systems. As a class, students then reflect on and discuss the video, and share their own preconceptions of what they believe a definition to be. The class is then divided into groups of 3-6 students and each group is given a text block on a topic related to the study of definitions. Students are responsible for becoming experts on their group's topic. They work together to understand the material; however, each individual in the group is responsible for identifying and understanding key concepts in the text. Once students feel they have sufficiently mastered their topic material, 'expert' groups are separated and students form new groups. Each member of the new group is an expert on a particular topic. In their new groups, students take turns teaching their peers about their expert topic. By the end of the class, students will have acquired knowledge of all the presented topics. Students are then tasked with using their new knowledge in a think-pair--share problem-solving exercise.

Read Less -

Objectives

Students learn to assemble knowledge in their own words, which involves exercising critical thinking skills. Students also learn how to convey knowledge through peer instruction.

Context and requirements

Level University
Discipline Social Sciences
Activity Content Definitions (structure, terminology)
Technological Requirements None
Best Use Practice

Author’s Notes

Benefits

Teacher for a Day: Defining a Definition’ has replaced a 2+ hour content-heavy lecture with an activity that is more engaging and encourages deeper thinking. Students enjoy becoming “subject experts” and are very enthusiastic about teaching their peers. Allowing them to teach each other gives students a sense of responsibility and shared learning.

Challenges

This activity may not be suitable for all students. Some may have difficulty performing peer-instruction.

Tips

Allow students that may have difficulty with this activity to ‘shadow’ the instructor as the instructor walks around the room to answer question. This way, the students are still learning but are not required to directly take part in peer instruction.

Activity Pedagogical Components

Reflect on Preconceptions

Students watch a video that challenges their preconception of what a definition is (structure, terminology, etc.). As a class, students discuss the video as well as their own preconceptions of what they believe a definition to be.

Knowledge Assembly

In their expert groups, students read through a block of text that they must learn, understand and also think about deeply enough to assimilate the key concepts they wish to pass on through peer-instruction.

Knowledge Dissemination

In their new groups, each expert student takes time to teach his/her peers about their specific subject topic. This involves applying what they have learned in their own words.

Think-Pair-Share

Using the knowledge they have gained through peer instruction, students perform a think-pair-share problem-solving exercise.

Download Flowchart Download Complete Material