Kagan Cooperative Learning
Monterey High School
Presented to: Woodrow Wilson National Leadership
Program for Teachers
Biology Institute 1998: Motion
The cooperative learning models
that I would like to present are from a workshop that I was able to attend
in the spring of 1998. The activities can be carried out in a short
segment of class time and are excellent as sponge activities, for introduction
of concepts, to check for understanding within the lesson cycle, or as
review and summation activities. They are easy to implement by the
teacher and engage the students.
These few activities that
I am sharing come from Cooperative Learning Structures for Classbuilding
by Miguel Kagan, Laurie Robertson, and Spencer Kagan which is one of a
number of books that are produced by Kagan
Cooperative Learning of San Clemente, CA. You may click above
to link to their web site which will allow you to obtain a free catalog
from which you may order books and information.
All the Kagan structures are
designed to maximize four attributes among students
Positive Interdependence - "Is a gain for one, an
gain for all?"
Individual Accountability - "Is there required individual
Equal Participation - "How equal is the participation?"
Simultaneous Interaction - "What percent are overtly
active at once?"
Samples of Some Cooperative Learning Models
Teacher announces a topic and
gives students a choice of four alternative. Students then form groups
in the four corners of the room and share reasons for their choice with
a partner in theri corner. Students realize they can be accepted
while making choices that are different from their classmates.
1) Teacher annonces
2) Students think and
3) Students go to corners
4) Pairs discuss
Have students writes down the number of their choice
without discussion among themselves.
Post a title of visual in each corner of the room.
If only one student chooses a corner, validate their
choice, but ask them to choose their second favorite group.
Give equal time to share in pairs.
Students receive a worksheet.
The worksheet asks them to "Find someone who..." The student has
to have the person who knows the answer for their question to wirte it
along with their name on the worksheet. Students can find only one
answer from each person. When students finish they become helpers
by sitting down and becoming a resource for others who can ask them any
question. Students who originally knew none of the the answers, after
filling in one or two of the answers become a resource for others because
they have become "someone who knows."
1) Students mix and
2) Student questions
3) Partner checks
4) Reverse roles
Have students raise one hand as they walk until they
find a partner. This makes it easier to spot those looking for a
Prior to doing the activity have students turn in
one little know fact or idea that they would like everyone to know to use
for the form.
Remind students that they can gen only one answer
from a partner and then must circulate to find another partner.
The teacher presents the class
with something to form. Students then make the formation by coordinating
their efforts, deciding where each student should stand or what they should
do. More advanced models may include sound and movement.
If possible, use an open space.
Show students a picture of the shape they are to
The formation must involve all students
Model how students may interact to make the formation.
Guess the Fib
Each student writes down three
statements. Two are true and one is false. One student at a
time reads their statement to the class. Teams huddle to discuss
the statements, trying to "guess the fib."
1) Students write three
2) One student reads
3) Teammates discuss
4) Teammates guess.
Have teams reach consensus before guessing.
Make sure students correct the fib so students remember
the correct information.
Give the role of "consensus seeker" to one student.
Students form two concentric circles.
Both circles have the same number of students so that each student is facing
another student. Teacher annonces a topic or question, and students
discuss with that partner. Then both circles rotate so that students
are paired with a new partner for the next question
1) Students form circles.
2) Student shares with
3) Reverse roles.
4) Students rotate.
If the weather is nice, this is fun to do outside.
Vary the number of positions rotated and occasionally switch directions.
The teacher announces a dimension on which students
may vary. The dimension may be a characteristic or a value.
Students then line up according to where they stand relative to their classmates
on the characteristic or issue.
1) Teacher describes the line.
2) Students line up.
3) Fold the line so that the individual on
the very end of the line is facing the person at the opposite end.
4) Pairs discuss.
One variation of this exercise is to give students slips of paper or index
cards with one part of a process written on it and have students arrange
themselves so that the overall process is in correct order.
Kagan, Miguel, Laurie Robertson, and Spencer Kagan;
Cooperative Learning Structures for Classbuilding, 1995; Kagan Cooperative
Learning; San Clemente, CA
Kagan Cooperative Learning
1160 Calle Cordillera
San Clemente, CA 92673
(800) WEE COOP