Student Activities

For the Teacher

California Science Content Standards

National Science Standards



 Setting Up Cooperative Groups

For more information click here

Cooperative learning is a way of structuring your classroom so that your students
work together to accomplish shared goals and products. By working together the learning of each individual is maximized . In a cooperative group each student is individually responsible for the success or failure of the entire group. Business and industry leaders tell us that they want schools to teach students to work collaboratively on projects because this is a necessary work skill.

There are many ways to set up cooperative groups. How you set up your groups will depend on the activity, the age, ability and social skills of your students,and the time you plan for your cooperative group activity. For some students cooperative learning can be a frustrating experience if it is not properly set up.

If you have not use cooperative learning groups before, you will find it takes a little practice. Here are some good general guidelines to follow:

When setting up cooperative groups try to foster groups that encourage positive interdependence. This means that the students in each group need each other's skills to succeed. Make sure you have a system in place for individual accountability. Know how you will make sure each student does his/her fair share of work, and that all students learn. At the end of each group period give your group time to process and reflect on how the group performed. This can me done using a feedback form. Before you begin your cooperative group project make sure the rules and guidelines for group work are clear and are understood by all students. Spend some reviewing and building social skills those cooperative activities that these social skills.

Click her to find a practice activity is. For this activity the students must:

  • Formulate an answer individually.
  • Share their answers with their partner.
  • Listen carefully to their partners' answers.
  • Create a new answer through discussion.

Each member of a cooperative group should be assigned a specific role. Roles will be determine by the task assigned to the cooperative group.

 Typical roles are:

  • Group Leader
  • Recorder
  • Reporter
  • Materials Monitor

 Other roles may be:

  • Checker
  • Encourager
  • Cheerleader
  • Praiser
  • Taskmaster
  • Quiet Monitor
  • Time Keeper

Things to do when you set up cooperative groups:

  • Define the task or lesson
  • Decide:
    • Group size
    • How students will be assigned to groups
      • Abilities and skills
      • Free choice
      • By topic of interest
  • Determine room arrangement
  • Prepare materials that will be needed by each group
  • Assign roles and define the job for each role
  • Define the final expected outcome or product
  • Determine how you will assess both group and student learning
  • Define specific behaviors expected during group work
  • Provide time for reflection and feedback on group process.

Where To Next?
The Task Show Your Stuff
Activities How'd You Do?
Resources  For the Teacher