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Exploring Phage Immunity Systems with a Scientific Reading and Communication Activity

Author(s): Sean Coleman1, Natasha Dean2, Karen Klyczek3, Kirk R Anders4, Sumali Pandey5

1. Wartburg College 2. La Sierra University 3. University of Wisconsin-River Falls 4. Gonzaga University 5. Minnesota State University Moorhead

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This jigsaw assignment is designed to increase students’ understanding of phage immunity systems, through reading primary literature and communicating key aspects.


This jigsaw assignment is designed to increase students’ understanding of phage immunity systems. In this jigsaw activity, each student in a group is responsible for understanding and explaining one figure or table from a research article. As a group, students summarize the research goals, key findings, and next steps.

Learning objectives: 

After completing this module, students should be able to:

  • Explain one aspect of phage immunity systems
  • Critically analyze scientific papers
  • Communicate scientific evidence in a cogent and effective manner.

How is the module structured to promote student development as a scientist?  This instructional module provides students with an opportunity to engage with scientific literature in a collaborative manner and addresses 9 of the 10 student learning outcomes outlined in a “Model for Becoming a Scientist” (Hanauer, unpublished). Students work together to become “experts” on one of the figures or tables on phage immunity systems and then disseminate this information to peers. Group discussion on journal articles facilitate scientific literacy, cooperation, engagement and enthusiasm, and communication skills that promote critical evaluation, negotiation, and problem-solving. Peer-instruction, which is central to this activity, allows students to reflect on what they learned about how scientists analyze and share information.

Intended Teaching Setting

Course level:  This activity could be used with students at any level, but is particularly effective with first year students since it breaks up the smaller units
Instructional Setting:  This activity can be completed in-person in class, or online using breakout rooms for collaborative work. The final product can be written as a shared document, whether the students are working in person or remotely.
Implementation Time Frame:  approximately 3-5 hours, divided into three class days.

Project Documents

Facilitator document:
Jigsaw activity-2F. Scientific paper.docx
Learning activity document(s): 
Jigsaw activity-2. Scientific paper.docx

Acknowledgments:   We thank Denise Monti, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Viknesh Sivanathan, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the SEA-PHAGES team for organizing and supporting this project.

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