Cooperative learning has proven through various studies to be an effective way to teach students a variety of subjects, including science. In case you are not familiar with the teaching method, it requires you to assemble students into small groups, typically with three to five members in each group. The group assemble requires you to mix students up that have different abilities in order to maximize the learning potential of the group. In other word, don’t put all of the A students together in one group and the F students together. Rather assemble the groups with some A, B, C, D and F students. The purpose of cooperative learning is to provide students guidance as to what they are supposed to learn by working together to achieve a common goal.
4 Factors for Successful Cooperative Learning
Cooperative learning can be highly successful in teaching students science concepts and information. In order to maximize the success of cooperative learning, four factors must be taken into consideration.
Set Goals: Make sure to set clear and concise goals as to what the groups are supposed to achieve. When you set and measure goals, you can assess how well the group accomplishes the goal at hand.
Accountability: While the goal is to work together in groups, students still need to be accountable for their individual contributions to the group.
Equality: Since the levels and abilities of each student that make up the groups are different, be careful to measure individual progress. For example, if each student in the group achieves a 10 percent increase in test scores from one week to another this is positive and equal progress. So, the student who raised a test score from 70 to 78 has achieved equal success as the student in the same group that increased the test score from 82 to 90.
Group Dynamic: You also have to teach students how to work together in a group.