Cooperative learning is a popular topic in education and a term we hear a lot at Unruly Splats. Here’s a quick look at what cooperative learning is, what the benefits are, and how you can think about incorporating some Unruly cooperative learning strategies into your school or classroom.
Cooperative learning is an environment where students work in small groups to achieve a shared goal. This could be as simple as working in small groups to create an epic LEGO city, or creating a group relay game by coding Unruly Splats.
Cooperative learning in the classroom gives students ownership over their learning while the teacher coaches groups along. However groups are organized, students should be talking with one another and collaborating on the task. Since students are working together, the classroom may become noisy-- and that is fantastic! Cooperative learning in the classroom is all about facilitating students to share their ideas, ask questions, and play together.
Unlike a traditional classroom setup where students sit at individual desks all facing the front of the room, cooperative learning in the classroom is easiest when students can face each other in their groups. One Grade 4 teacher organizes students into groups of 4 desks facing each other, making sure all students can see the board at the front of the room. All the desk groups have “work stations” in the center that includes supplies and instructions for each group.
Research by Beesley and Apthortp in their book “Classroom Instruction That Works, 2nd Edition”, found that “students in cooperative conditions performed better on academic assessments than those in individual conditions”. According to a 1992 study by Johnson & Johnson, cooperative activities compared with competitive and individualistic efforts typically results in greater psychological health, social competence, and self-esteem.
These benefits apply across all age levels and subjects so whatever grade or class you are teaching, incorporating cooperative learning into your lessons could have a positive impact. According to teacher feedback, some students who were the least engaged in class before, become some of the most engaged when they use Splats in a cooperative learning environment.
To facilitate successful cooperative activities in the classroom, here are a few tips:
At Unruly Splats, we want students to play and make their own rules, all while learning fundamental computational thinking and STEM skills! We understand that not all group work is the same, so there are multiple ways to use Slats in a cooperative learning environment:
Although cooperative learning can look chaotic, research shows it leads to more highly engaged students with a better understanding of the material. If you want to learn more about how to integrate more STEM, movement, and collaboration into what you’re already doing at school, give us a call and we’d love to chat and hear more about it!