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Jigsaw Reading and Lesson Design Activity

Main Core Tie

Science - Earth Science
Standard 2 Objective 3

Additional Core Ties

Science - Earth Science
Standard 3 Objective 1

Time Frame

3 class periods of 45 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups


Utah LessonPlans


In small groups, students will use textbooks, reference books, and/or the Internet to research and then teach a topic related to plate tectonics


Background for Teachers


Time needed: Choose the longer or shorter version of this activity depending on your topics and the amount of time you want to devote. Be mindful during your assessment of the allotted time given students to complete this project.

Notes to Teacher: In order to grade fairly and accurately, you will need to be constantly observing and monitoring students during their completion of this activity.

Instructional Procedures

  1. Assemble needed supplies and run off enough copies of the student sheets
  2. Run off a copy of the overhead. The overhead contains suggested research topics. You may want to add from this list or modify it to fit the needs of your class.
  3. Hook: Ask students to describe the best lesson in school they have had. Write down a list of what made the teaching so effective. Tell the students that they will be the teachers and will research and prepare the best lesson they can.
  4. Pass out the student sheets.
  5. Allow students to read through the directions. Answer any questions that they may have.
  6. Divide students into groups of 3-4.
  7. Assign each group to a topic. You may want to do this as a lottery or allow students to sign up for the topic they prefer or you could choose. You may choose to have more than one group researching a topic.
  8. Allow students to research their topics and prepare their presentations. (Be sure to monitor the groups as they design their lessons. Now is the time to assure that the main ideas you want discussed are being covered by the students. If the students are off track help guide them to the more pertinent information.)
  9. Provide time for students to present to other groups. Encourage students to take notes and ask questions during the presentations.
  10. You may choose to have one group present for the whole class or have several presentation stations. In this version there would be 2-3 groups presenting in different areas of the classroom at the same time. Students who weren't presenting would be at the stations listening.
  11. Discuss with students how the presentations went and how comfortable they feel with the information.
  12. Answer any clarifying questions the students may have. You may want to give them a quiz on the topics to assess how well they grasped the information.


A possible quiz would be to have the students answer all the research topic questions.

Assessment Plan

Sample Grading Rubric: See student sheet and "Rubrics" attached.


Lesson Design by Jordan School District Teachers and Staff.

Created: 11/05/2014
Updated: 02/04/2018