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How is My Green Shoe Like a Frog? A Kindergarten Math Classifying Lesson

written by: Patricia Gable • edited by: Tricia Goss • updated: 12/12/2016

Sorting is a fun hands-on activity for young students that gets them thinking. At first, provide a sorting rule such as sorting by color, size or shape. Take it to the next level and allow the children to sort by their own rules. This lesson provides activities to stimulate the thinking process!

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    Classify & Sort

    1.Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which objects has ' more of ' / ' less of ' the attribute, and describe the difference. MAK-MD-A-2

    Classify & Sort

    2.Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count. MAK-MD-B-3

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    1. Kindergarten Math Activity One: Choose five or six students to stand in front of the class. The other students should remain at their seats. Ask, “If we were to put these students in groups by the way they are alike, how could we do it?" An obvious way would be the girls in one group and the boys in another. But we can dig deeper to sort them in other ways:
    • Color of eyes, hair, or a specific article of clothing
    • Kind of shoes
    • Height
    • Those who have sisters, brothers, dogs
    • By age, birth month

    1. Activity Two: Students sit in a circle on the floor. Now that you have the students thinking of categories or sorting rules ask them to each take off one shoe and put it in a pile in the center of the circle. You may have a few who are uncomfortable doing this, but that’s all right. Without saying anything, begin quietly putting the shoes in groups. You may choose to sort by color, type, size or whether they have laces. Then ask, “Can you guess the rule I used to sort these shoes?" When the answer has been determined ask, “Which group has more? Which has the least amount?" Then ask, “Is there another way to sort these shoes?" Allow for suggestions and discussion.

    1. Activity Three: Depending on the amount of time you have, you may wish to do this on another day. Without telling them why, instruct the students to find one object in the classroom and bring it to the circle. This object could be anything from a book to a pencil to a block to a crayon. When students are settled ask one student to stand with the object he has. Then ask, “Does anyone have an object that could be in a group with this one?" Let’s say the object is a red block. Maybe someone has a red crayon or another block or something square like the block. Encourage critical thinking! Choose a sorting rule and ask, “Does anyone else have an object that can be put in this group?"

    Classifying into groups based on a specific attribute and then comparing sizes of the sorted groups is something that should be done often throughout the school year. It can be done without preparation and can be used when you have five or ten minutes to spare.

    Have fun and keep those kids thinking!