FIPP Activity Report 2 T. James Noyes 11/13/2009

Report #2
FIPP Activity Report
Funded by the Basic Skills Initiative
Name T. James Noyes
Date 11/13/2009
FIPP Partner Kate McLaughlin
Section #1318
Activity /Strategy Lab JIGSAW
Category II. Classroom Environment
Briefly describe the activity/strategy.
1. Introduction "Lab JIGSAW"
Lab groups consist of 3-4 students. A student representative from each group
compares their answers to specified lab questions with the other groups and
then returns to their group to share what they learned with their fellow group
2. Set up & Supplies Whiteboard and Markers
3. Directions
1. Write down the numbers of lab questions on the board for the large groups
A, B, C, & D to discuss.
2. Each member of a lab group selects a letter: A, B, C, or D
(if a group has 3 people, choose A, B, or C)
3. Each member goes to the tables in one corner of the room
(corner A, B, C, or D as specified by the instructor)
4. These large groups in the corners of the room compare and contrast their
answers to the lab questions specified by their instructor (it is a good idea to
specify a set of "primary" or "most important" questions and a set of
"secondary" or "less important" questions that they should discuss if they finish
discussing their "primary" questions before the other large groups)
4. Students return to their original lab groups and share what they have learned
with their fellow group members.
4. Conclusion None
What worked well? Students were happy to have the opportunity to see what other lab
groups did. I thought it was interesting that students who got the answers "right" did not
think it was a "waste of time" or that they were "giving away the answers" and instead
liked the activity because they came away feeling "more confident" about their work.
What would you change? Based on grading their labs, many students are still not thinking
critically about the answers to the lab questions. They may go with the "majority
opinion" with little understanding, or may not take much care when comparing their
answers. I think that I need to add a concluding activity to better understand what they
are getting out of the activity and provide them with more feedback. For example, I
could have them write down X number of examples of what they learned or changed
from the activity (the lab groups could do this). I could then call on individual students to
give me examples of what they learned (and correct them if necessary) and/or have
them submit their writing, review it, and give feedback during the next class.
Would you use the activity/strategy again? Why or why not? Yes.
It is a good way for students to get feeback about their work, at least compared with the
other options. For example, I could spend long periods of time grading - and even then,
they hardly glance at the papers. Usually they "shrug it off" a low grade and just accept
that they were wrong, not caring about "why" they were wrong; grading homework does
not motivate most students to ask questions and try to get a better understanding.
Please describe any student learning outcomes/changes that you observed after the
implementation of the activity/strategy. Probably the best outcome was greater student
attention to trying to understand the answers to the lab questions (often they write down
the first thing that comes to mind when they are doing the lab, because they just want to
"complete it"). That being said, the improvement is only marginal, and I think that
modifications to the activity could lead to greater improvement in students
understanding of the course material.