Lesson: Parallelogram Jigsaw

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to use the properties of parallelograms to solve problems.

Lesson Plan



Jigsaw is a cooperative learning technique described here. If you haven’t used it before, read through the link for more information.


Have students get out their parallelogram sort checklist from the previous lesson. Break students into the previous teams of 4. Now within each team, have each student number off 1-4. Have the 1’s from every group form a new group. Next all the 2’s form a new group. Then all the 3’s and finally the 4’s are in new groups. We should have 4 different groups from before. Now pass out the Parallelogram Jigsaw handout to each student.

Team Investigation

Instruct the class that each group will only do one problem on the paper. The new group of 1’s will only work on number 1. The new group of 2’s will only work on number 2. And so on. Even though students are grouped together, give them 2 minutes to attempt the problem on their own with no talking. When two minutes is up, they can work together to solve the problem. Circulate the classroom to help students who are struggling. Once each group has the problem solved, they need to make sure that every member of the group knows how to solve and explain it. Instruct students that they are responsible for explaining to the members of their original team and only they have that knowledge. Do not let students wander around or talk with members from other groups. Go to each group and individually look every student in the eye and ask them if they know how to explain the entire problem. Have them test out their explanation on you for the students who seem unsure. Once every student knows the answer and the solution, it is time to return to their original teams.

Starting with the number 1 student in each group, they should begin explaining the problem to the rest of the group. This is where you need to monitor most so that students aren’t just copying down answers. A good way to do this is to have other team members turn their paper over and put pencils down while a team member is explaining. By the end of this activity, each student should know how to solve and explain each problem. It is also good to point out that even if a student knows how to do every problem, they are helping their team by listening. We learn best by teaching others and so students should practice ‘being taught’.


Pass out pieces of scrap paper. Have students write on their own, not in teams. Answer the question,How did this activity help you learn? Explain.”  Collect the papers and read through before the next class period.


What Worked

What works about this activity is that students are doing the work! These problems are pretty easy and include some algebra and review the midpoint formula. This strategy works well once students realize they need to have well thought out explanations to take back to their group. It gives each student a chance to be the ‘math master’ or to have the spotlight and take ownership of their work. They are also more likely to rely on each and get the help they need when they know their team members are relying on them. It makes students work, takes the focus off the teacher being the know-it-all, and holds the students accountable.

What Didn’t Work

The jigsaw technique works better the more often you use it. At first, it is kind of messy and unorganized and students are not used to explaining how to find answers. The first time will probably suck for everyone but don’t give up! It is so useful to have students working individually, then together, in different teams, and explaining.

Lesson Resources

Parallelogram Jigsaw Key   Activity
Parallelogram Jigsaw   Activity


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