Through active participation in mathematics investigations, including problem solving and discussions, children develop their ability to use mathematics as a way of making sense out of their daily experiences.
(The Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program)
Children construct ideas about organizing things when they sort and classify objects, such as play materials. Experiences in sorting help children to develop critical mathematical skills (e.g., observing, analyzing, comparing).
This week, our class began to learn about “sorting rules” in mathematics. We began by focusing on one attribute. During our whole group lesson, we asked the children how they could sort the basket of apples.
How can we sort these apples?
The children took turns making suggestions, such as:
“Big apples with big ones and small apples with small apples.” A.L.
“All the same colours.” T.K.
The children were then asked to sort the apples by colour.
We discussed that when we put all the coloured apples that “go together” in the same group we used the sorting rule, sorting by “colour”.
“It’s an apple snowman.” L.C.
Sorting, Sorting and More Sorting
The children were encouraged to explore sorting and creating sorting rules at the Hands on Thinking Center during center time.
M. immediately went to the Hands on Thinking Center and sorting patterning blocks.
Ms. P: How are these objects alike?
M: They are the same colours, these are green, these are red, these are yellow.
Ms. P: What name could you give to this group?
M: These are colours.
Sorting by Colour
E.L. used the bears to practice sorting.
Ms. P: How did you sort these objects?
E.L: By colours.
Ms. P: How could you sort these objects in a different way?
E.L. dumps out all the bears and examines the bear counters. He then begins to make three groups based on the different sizes of the bear counters.
E.L. These are the small bears, there is the medium bears and there is the big bears.
Ms. P: What is your new sorting rule?
S.T: Those are the dangerous animals with antlers so I put them over there far away because you don’t want them to come close. This lives far away and dinosaurs live far away so put it there.
M: Those live in the Northwest, dinosaurs, dinosaurs lived together, those animals live on the farm, those animals came from the Wild West; these are pond animals that live in a pond.
S.T: And these are animals that live in the zoo.
Ms. P: I wonder what name you could give this group?
M: Where the animals live.
S.T: I don’t know.
Ms. P: I wonder if you could sort the animals by colour?
S.T: You will have to paint them.
M: Well, this horse is brown and there is a different brown on the camel. They can go together.
S.T: and when they are black and white they go in the basket.
M: This dinosaur has black and white dots, it goes here (points to basket).
S.T: Yes! Absolutely!