Explain to students that the class will be learning about the Fort at No. 4 through a cooperative learning activity called the “Jigsaw”. Use the visual analogy of a jigsaw puzzle to describe for students how the lesson works.
Make copies of the handout: The History of Fort at No. 4 for each student. (also here)
Students begin in Home Teams of four people each. Every Home Team learns the same body of information the answers to the questions on the Student Guide. When students are in their Home Teams, distribute the Handout: The History of Fort at No. 4: Student Guide.
Each student chooses one section to read and answer the questions. There are four sections of the Fort History to choose from. The goal is for all students to have the answers to all parts of the Student Guide.
Once students have selected their area to read, the puzzle “breaks apart” and students meet with their Expert Teams made up of all the other students in the class who selected that area. For example, all the students who chose Part One of the Fort History will meet with all other students who chose Part One. The next step is for each Expert Team to answer the questions on the Student Guide. Give enough time for all members of the team to read and discuss the questions. All members should write down the group’s responses to the questions so that they can teach those answers to their Home Team members. Accountability is key for successful collaboration. Remind students that everyone will be responsible for the answers to all questions by the end of the lesson.
Pieces Connected Again
Once all the questions are answered, have students return to their original Home Teams. Ask that they take turns teaching each other the information. This is an excellent opportunity to teach small group social skills such as being attentive, note-taking and eye contact.
Circulate among students during the time in their Expert and Home Teams to ensure that everyone is on task and accurate.
Ask each Home Team to read the Conclusion together and collaborate to answer the questions found on the Student Guide.
To conclude the lesson and check for understanding, conduct a whole class discussion about the History of Fort at No. 4 based on the questions on the Student Guide. Connect the information learned to the larger events of United Sates history that the class has been studying.
Next, have students generate two questions each to ask the Fort at No. 4 Interpreters. Offer bonus points to students who actually get answers the day of the field trip.
End by discussing student and teacher expectations of the field trip to Fort at No. 4.