Sorting By Size

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Students will be able to compare objects and sort by size.

Big Idea

Sorting is an important foundational skills for kindergarten students to learn. Using attribute blocks to sort by size helps students practice comparing objects and prepares them to sort by other measurable attributes.

Problem of the Day

5 minutes

I start the lesson with a problem of the day to help students review skills and concepts from prior lessons and develop their ability to problem solve.  I call the students up to the carpet. The students find their spots while saying this chant with me.

Criss cross, applesauce, hands in your lap, eyes on the teacher, you've got to show me that.

I project the Problem of the Day 6 on the SMARTBoard and say to students, "This is our Problem of the Day for today.  This says 'Look at the animals.  How can we sort them?'" (If you don't have a SMARTBoard, there is also a Problem of the Day pdf of these slides.)  

I have several students give ideas orally before we move anything.  The obvious answer is pets and farm animals, but other options should also be discussed.  No sorting circles were provided because I wanted students to be free to sort into more than two groups if necessary.  The animals can be moved around the screen several times to show different ways to sort.

I tell students, "Today we will be comparing objects, and we will be paying close attention to the size of the objects."

Presentation of Lesson

25 minutes

I have student move into a circle and remind them to sit with their bottoms on the hard floor so that there is room for everyone.  I also remind students that when we are doing an activity in the circle, they need to keep their hands to themselves and stay seated so that everyone can see and pay attention.

"Today we are going to compare attribute blocks again but in a different way.  We are going to sort them by size.  Sort means to group things together that have something in common.  We are going to put the attributes together that are the same size.  Their size will be what they have in common."

I put a large attribute block into the yellow sorting circle and a small attribute block into the red sorting circle.  I hand a large attribute block to a student and have him or her place it into the correct sorting circle.  I continue with more large and small attribute blocks of various colors and shapes until all student have gotten a turn.  Several times throughout the activity, I ask "Why did you put the attribute block in that circle?"  When all of the attribute blocks have been sorted, I ask, "How did we sort these attribute blocks?"  (We sorted by size.)

I then tell students that we will be practicing this on a Sorting By Size worksheet.  I think that students learn better by sorting with manipulatives, but taking the time to do a short worksheet each day helps the students learn basic paper and pencil skills.  This paper has the students sort by drawing lines which is different than what they have done on any other worksheet up to this point.

I show students the paper and say, "We will be doing some of this paper together.  When you get to your seats, you need to get out your pencil and put your name on your paper.  When your name is on your paper hold your pencil in the air, that will let me know that you are ready to start."  I like to have students hold up their pencils or put their hands on their heads when they are finished with a task.  It makes it easy for me to see who is ready and also keeps the students from writing all over their papers while they wait for other students to finish.  Prior to the lesson, I use a highlighter to write student names on papers for students who are unable to write their name.

I hand each student a paper and they walk back to their seats.  While the students are writing their names, I turn on the projector and document camera and display the worksheet on the SMARTBoard.  When all students have their pencils up, I say, "The directions on this paper say draw a line from each object to the box where it belongs."  I tell students to put their pencil point on the picture of the bicycle.  

I model this on the SMARTBoard.  I call a student up to point to the box that the bicycle belongs in.  I ask, "Why did you chose that box?"  (It is big.  The bicycle is big so it goes in the big box.)  "We are going to show that we put the bicycle in that box by drawing a line from the bicycle to the big box."  I model how to do this on my paper.  I continue this routine with the blocks and the yo-yo.  I then tell students that they can finish the paper on their own.  When the paper is finished, I have students put their pencils away, put their paper in the paper tray and put their heads down.


15 minutes

I tell students, "Now you are going to get to practice sorting by size."  I show students plastic trays filled with attribute blocks, and say, "We are going to sort these attribute blocks by size just like we did on the carpet.  Remember you need to group the objects that are the same size."  Like my color tiles, I have some attribute blocks that are plastic and some that are foam.  Both work, but the foam ones are much quieter when the student put their hands in the tray.  I review the rules for group work.

Share the materials in the tray.

Materials are to be pulled out as needed. (The tray does not need to be dumped out.) 

Talk in quiet voices. 

I remind students that when the clean up song comes on, they need to put all of their materials back into the tray and put their heads down.  I have students return to their seats and give each table a tray of attribute blocks.  I circulate throughout the room to ensure that students are sorting. I use the remaining time to pull students to complete our beginning of the year baseline assessment.  To clean up, I turn on the clean up song.  I use Dr. Jean’s Tidy Up.  It is on her All Day Long album.


5 minutes

I close this lesson by inviting students back up to the carpet.  I turn on the projector and document camera and let several students share their work on the screen.  The students like getting to "Be the teacher" and other students like seeing their classmates' work being projected on the SMARTBoard.  I mention positive things that I noticed during the practice time.  I also include something that needs to be better next time.  I review what we did during our whole group lesson.  "Today we sort by size.  What other ways have we learned to sort?"  (By color and by shape.) Tomorrow, we are going to review sorting and learn how to do math centers."