Cooperative learning, not just a group project!

In some cases, group projects can be cooperative but as we all have found out the hard way sometimes group projects are not cooperative at all. More often that not one or two students end up feeling like they’ve done they whole project or they really had to do the whole project because not every student in the group participated. This leads to some students not learning anything at all!

According to David W Johnson and Roger T Johnson:

“Cooperative learning is working together to accomplish shared goals.  Within cooperative situations, individuals seek outcomes that are beneficial to themselves and beneficial to all other group members. Cooperative learning is the instructional use of small groups so that students work together to maximize their own and each other’s learning.”

The following picture will explain all the characteristics of Cooperative learning!

Yong Huei Wang



Somethings that need to be considered before implementing cooperative learning in the classroom:

  • Put students in “Teams” not “Groups.” The word team allows for a more unified environment and encourages the students to work together as a whole.
  • Cooperative learning will only be successful if the members of each team have formed a good relationship with each other so make sure you allow them to get to know each other before you begin the cooperative learning in your classroom.
  • As the teacher you will need to make sure that task is delegated equally so you will be able to know if every student in every team is contributing correctly.

Video of Cooperative learning:

There are a few examples of cooperative learning:

STAD (Student Teams Achievement Divisions)

  • Presentation of info is teacher lead.
  • Teams are formed equally based on academic ability, gender, and ethnicity.
  • Teams do a lesson together and then take an individual quiz.
  • Individual improvement score.

Jigsaw II

  • Teams are formed of “experts” that focus on a specific topic.
  • Students form smaller groups within the expert group and focus on a small part of the specific topic.
  • Once the sub groups have concluded their research they form the large expert group and share the findings.
  • Quizzes will be given on a scoring scale like STAD.

Co-op Co-op

  • Student centered discussion.
  • Teams should be formed from common interest rather than friendships.
  • Students analyze the topic selected and break it into mini topics.
  • A brief report of each mini topic is created and then the team comes together to form a presentation to present to the whole class.
  • Evaluation can be quizzes or graded reports.

Group Investigation

  • Groups of 5 are selected and a topic is picked.
  • The teacher and the students will plan specific learning procedures, tasks, and goal surrounding the topic selected.
  • Learning will involve a wide range of activities.
  • Students then evaluate and analyze the info gathered in the previous step.
  • Evaluations can be done in a group or individual.

Guided Reciprocal Peer Questioning

  • Teacher lectures for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Students will be given generic question stems that they must create questions for independently.
  • Then students will get in teams and answer questions in the discussion using different stems.

Cooperative learning lesson plans:

Cooperatively Learning the Water Cycle

  1. Students will break into their teams that they are already familiar with.
  2. Once into teams one person of each team will be learning an aspect of the water cycle. Such as Condensation, Precipitation, Evaporation, Transpiration, and Percolation.
  3. Once each member of the team is an expert on their specific area, each member of the team will share the results of their research.
  4. The team will then have to create a poster that has a picture of the water cycle and describes each part thoroughly.
  5. Once the team has finished their poster they will share their findings and results to the whole class.


  1. Bailey,
    I absolutely loved your post! I can say for sure that I’ve been in groups where one person would do all the work, and I hated them. I really like the additional quote you found and the way that you laid out and dissected the different forms of cooperative learning! I also really like your lesson using the water cycle and cooperative learning! Do you think there is another way to teach the water cycle, using a different cooperative learning method, or do you think the one you laid out works the best/pretty well?

    • Bryce, Thank you for the positive feedback I really appreciate it! The lesson plan I created is a pretty creative way for students to learn every step of the water cycle. I am sure that you could use other types of cooperative learning also such as Guided Reciprocal Peer Questioning but this would change the style the water cycle would be taught in. For this specific lesson Jigsaw II works the best!

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