Cooperative Learning in Social
By: Jamie Hille, Kelly Boynton, &
Cooperative learning is structured group work
towards a common goal that still requires
students to be individually accountable.
It can be done in a variety of ways and used
for any grade level.
Types of cooperative learning: group
investigation, jigsaw, learning together,
STAD, & TGT.
Each group gets a topic and each student is
assigned one aspect of the topic. The
students will then combine their individual
knowledge for a group presentation.
For example, the topic could be the Civil War
and each student would be assigned smaller
topics such as a certain battle.
Expert groups are created to research individual
Once the expert groups have finished their research,
new groups are formed with one expert from each
Each new group member can teach the topic that
they are an expert on to other group members.
For example, expert groups can be assigned the
causes of the first world war, such as economic
reasons, political reasons, etc. New groups are
formed to learn all about the causes from other
“experts” in each area.
Students work on a worksheet together
and turn it in as a group. The group can
be graded on correct number of
answers, improvement, collaboration,
Teams work together to master the skill as a
group, however there are individual tests. In
order to ensure cooperation and skill mastery,
the teacher can assign points with an average
of a group score and an individual score.
This way students want everyone in their
group to understand because each score
affects their own.
Groups of varying skill level students
are combined to work on a skill.
Each week the students can be in
games or tournaments against students
of their own skill level.
Each student is a representative of the
original group and points are awarded
based on performance.
Teachers need to make short term
goals as well as long term.
Make each student accountable for their
work, but at the same time they should
still rely on the group to finish the
Group and individual reflection.
Allow sufficient time.
Social skills should be taught in the
•Box, J., & Little, D. (2003, December). Cooperative Small-Group
Instruction Combined with Advanced Organizers and Their
Relationship to Self-Concept and Social Studies Achievement of
Elementary School Students. Journal of Instructional Psychology,
30(4), 285-287. Retrieved January 15, 2008, from Academic
Search Premier database.
•Hendrix, J.C. (1999). Connecting cooperative learning and social studies.
Clearing house, 73. Retrieved January 14, 2008, from
• Sullivan, J. (1996). Impementing a cooperative learning research
model: How it applies to a social studies unit. Social Studies, 87