## Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Amazing Animals - Categorizing and Compiling - Section 3: Categorizing the Animals - Individual Work

Sorting items into categories is thought of by some people as a pre-school or kindergarten topic.  This is where it may formally start to be taught but it is not where it should end.  In 3rd grade, sorting and categorization can be continued by having students sort concepts (in this case, different animal species and groups) into defined categories.  In this lesson, students use both qualitative (“has hair or fur”) and quantitative (“has 2 pairs of wings”) characteristics to sort the animals the class listed into scientifically accepted groups.  The underlying idea I emphasize is that when one is sorting data, there must be an agreed upon set of criteria, whether defined by an individual or group or science (in this case) are specifics I don’t necessarily delve into.  To illustrate this, I present the following scenario:  A 3rd grade class in Hawaii uses the scientific classification of mammals and lists 122 species.  A 3rd grade class in New Jersey uses their own definition, and include other animals that are not actually mammals (birds, for example).  They list 251 mammals.  Can these two totals be compared?

The ability to define and apply rules for sorting and categorization underpin most math and many other subject areas.  The crucial math skill in this beginning of the year lesson is categorizing and tallying up data based upon an agreed set of characteristics so that meaningful analysis can be conducted in the next step.

Sorting and Categorizing Information
Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Sorting and Categorizing Information

# Amazing Animals - Categorizing and Compiling

Unit 1: 1st Week: Getting to Know Each Other Through Graphs
Lesson 4 of 6

## Big Idea: We are studying animals. Before we can begin, it's good to know what our starting point is, so in this activity students make a list of all the animals they can think of, which informs the teacher about background knowledge and interests.

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Subject(s):
Math, Classroom Culture and Climate, Science Integration, categorizing
66 minutes

### Jennifer Valentine

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