Math Background

Identify, Sort, Classify: When Students Ask

  • Why should I learn this?
    Encourage children to tell how they use sorting, such as when they go to the library and want to find a book or when they want a specific item at a store. You might point out how much easier it is for them to find a book on animals when the books are sorted into categories. Or, you might ask what would happen if you didn't sort the dishes by size and shape when you stacked them in the cupboard.
  • Can I sort these another way?
    Provide sets of items for the children to sort. Encourage children to tell you one way to sort the set, which will probably be the obvious way. Then ask the children to look again to see if the items might be alike in some other way. Allow time for lots of alternate sorting exercises, as they offer great problem-solving opportunities.
  • Why are some things easier to sort than others?
    Some things have fewer attributes, such as blocks that have only a few colors. Other things, such as vegetables, have many ways they can be sorted — by color, size, shape, taste, smell, and so on.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade K