To introduce this lesson, I review the anchor chart that our class had previously made on sorting. We talk about all the ways we know how to sort: color, shape, size, own rule. I tell the kids they are now sorting wizards and will be asked to decide the best way to sort some items.We had previously read the book, Sort it Out by Barbara Mariconda. I remind the children of how Packy had to sort his items in various ways. Packy used characteristics and attributes to sort the items in his collections. As we discuss this, I show students the pages and pictures again of how Packy sorted his items.
The activity I give the children consists of two pages. These pages are taken from the Houghton Mifflin math series used in my district. The first page has various hats and shoes. This can challenge some of my students; as many of them immediately want to sort the red and blues hats/shoes by color. However, there is a brown pair of boots that will not allow for sorting by color. Students need to determine that the sorting rule is: items that go on my head & items that go on my feet.
The second page has various animals. This page allows for some good discussion among the children. I hear conversations about how many feet, feathers, and fur. Ultimately, most of my class ended up sorting by color; as two of the animals are red, green, and yellow.
I like this activity because it addresses the mathematical practice of constructing viable arguments. Students are engaged in conversation trying to prove their reasoning for sorting to myself and their peers. The lesson demonstrates that my children truly understand the concept of sorting.