One of my favorite teaching strategies is the JIGSAW strategy. It can be used in any grade level and for any subject area. For my forensic science students, I use the JIGSAW strategy for Teaching the Steps of Crime Scene Investigation in Forensics.
What is the JIGSAW strategy?
A JIGSAW activity is a student-directed, cooperative-learning technique that gives students the opportunity to specialize in one aspect of a topic, master the topic, and teach the material to their classmates. Asking students to work together in a jigsaw builds comprehension, encourages cooperation, and improves communication and problem-solving skills. Additionally, it places the responsibility of the learning on the student. This activity works great for introducing a new topic, like the 7 steps of CSI.
How does the JIGSAW work?
A traditional jigsaw activity starts with a concept or topic that you want to teach. For this blog post, I am using the Steps of Crime Scene Investigation. Begin by dividing the concept into 6-8 smaller topics. Since there are 7 steps of crime scene investigation, I created posters for each of the 7 topics that my students would need to learn about.
I started the class period by dividing my students. It works best if there are 3-4 students for EACH topic. These groups were the “expert groups” of the jigsaw. I prepared a guided notes sheet to help students gather information for each topic. Here is an example of what I wanted my experts to know about each topic. Each expert group used the internet and textbooks to answer the guided questions.
While the students worked, I walked around to each group and assigned each group member a different color. For example, for a group of 4, I assigned each student one of the following colors: blue, red, yellow, green.
After about 15 minutes, I broke the students into their “jigsaw” groups. There were four total jigsaw groups (red, blue, green, and yellow). Each group was comprised of one person from each of the 7 “expert” groups. Each person took turns sharing their knowledge with their jigsaw group. As they shared, group members completed this notes packet.
This activity takes about 40-45 minutes to complete from start to finish. If you are interested in grabbing my ready-to-go version of this activity, click HERE.
I hope today’s blog post has provided you with a simple, yet effective strategy for Teaching the Steps of Crime Scene Investigation in Forensics.
Until next time, happy teaching!