This month at The Teacher Table, Dr. Laura Witter led short and sweet PLC sessions on a jigsaw teaching strategy with a modern twist.

What’s the difference between a traditional jigsaw and a modern jigsaw?

In a basic, traditional jigsaw activity, groups of students focus on specialized topics, then present to other groups. At the end of the jigsaw cycle, groups learn from each other and make connections between numerous concepts to piece together the bigger picture (Diagram 1, Step 4).

Diagram 1: Traditional Jigsaw

Inspired by Jon Corippo’s modern twist on jigsaw (aka Iron Chef) which takes advantage of 1:1 classroom environments, Dr. Witter calls Iron Chef a pseudo-jigsaw teaching strategy because there is an additional interpretative element within each group. Thus, every resulting expert group (Diagram 2, Step 3) produces a product that is different across every group.

Diagram 2: Iron Chef, a modernized jigsaw

In Iron Chef, chefs (the groups of students) are using recipes (concepts to be learned) to assemble ingredients (the source text), adding personal flair with a secret ingredient (something personal or unique that each student adds to their slide. Each group produces a finished product (a slideshow) and presents to the class.

How does Iron Chef work?

  1. Teacher Prep: Create a template set of slides (here’s a sample). Fill in each slide with a topic and objective tasks for each student.
  2. Each group will be assigned said topic, such as a concept, article, or term. Examples may include a specific character, chapter, country, time period, etc.

    Iron Chef T-3_ Practice
    A sample slide from which one group would work from.
  3. A group leader will make a copy of the slide that has been assigned, and they will share it with the group.
  4. Group members work on one section of the slide.
  5. Group leader submits slide to teacher.
  6. Group presents.


  • At what point in a unit should I use this?Formative Assessment, Retrieval Practice, & Review – Use after students have had serious interaction with material (i.e. reading and annotating a chapter). After students present, post presentations on Schoology as a resource for students to study from.Introduction to Topic – A space for students to explore new concepts and for teachers to correct student misconceptions about prior knowledge.
  • How do you manage the classroom when students are working on an Iron Chef?Move around in the classroom to keep students on task. Assign a slide to each student, so that students are accountable to the group slides and the class presentation. Student performance affects Academic Habit grade.
  • In creating their slide presentations, how do you ensure that students don’t pick the first image that appears in the Google search?Set criteria for Google images students use – Ex: no clip art, no book diagrams, select a specific masterpiece from a specific artist, have students explain why they selected a certain image in the presentation
  • How do you have students present?
    Have students share the slides with teacher or submit the Slides share link to a Google Form. For more responsible classes, another option would be to create one overarching presentation for everyone to work off of
  • How long will it take?
    An 80 minute period is usually sufficient amount of time for Dr. Witter’s freshmen and junior students to finish an Iron Chef activity from start to finish.


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