GeoPuzzle: Sort, Count & Add

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SWBAT build a geopuzzle, sort the pieces, record the count of each group and use the information to create and solve addition problems.

Big Idea

Kindergartners need integrated experiences in mathematics. This lesson allows them to use several skills in one experience in order to see how the skills can work together. This type of lesson is then transferred to our science lessons for the week.

Daily Calendar and Counting Review

15 minutes

Each day we begin our math block with an interactive online calendar followed by counting songs and videos.

Calendar Time:

We do calendar on Starfall every afternoon.  This website has free reading and math resources for primary teachers. It also has a  “more” option that requires paying a yearly fee. The calendar use is free. A detailed description of Daily Calendar math is included in the resources.

Counting with online sources: Today we did counting practice to reinforce the counting skills. We watched two to three number recognition 0-10 videos (one to two minutes each) because some of my students students were still struggling with identifying numbers correctly in random order. We watched "Shawn the Train" and counted objects with him to refresh our memories on how to count objects to ten and to reinforce one to one counting. Since we have started the second quarter of the school year, we added to today's counting practice: counting to 20 forward and back, counting by tens to 100 and counting to 100 by ones to get a jump on our end of the year goals.


Direct Instruction

10 minutes

Direct instruction for this lesson is simply me demonstrating the steps in the activity that they will be doing today:

1) Build a puzzle

2) Sort the pieces

3) Record each sort count (e.g. 8 trapezoids)

4) Create and solve addition equations

5) Return materials to container

6) Trade with neighbor and start a new puzzle

Students are provided time at the end to ask any questions they may have about the activity. There are very few.

Guided Instruction

10 minutes

The kids are sent to the tables where there is a container of geoblocks in the middle. My helper of the day gives each student their first puzzle to build. I do a puzzle along with them under the doc cam.

The kids are told not to build their puzzle until we are all ready to begin.

Once everyone has a puzzle, I give the kids 5 minutes to build their puzzle. I set a timer.

At the end of 5 minutes, I ask the kids to begin sorting the shapes that are on their puzzle into groups. When they are all done, I then ask them to count each group and record the number on their recording sheet.

We then fill in our geo puzzle addition page one equation at a time. Again, I am filling in my own page under the doc cam as they fill in theirs.

When we are all done with the first puzzle, I ask the kids to trade puzzles with a neighbor sitting near them.

We do this step by step instruction through the first two puzzles the kids have. As long as they appear to be doing well with the steps, I let them begin working on their own with puzzle three as I roam and assist when needed.

Independent Practice

20 minutes

The kids are asked to begin working independently on the third puzzle. As they work on their own, I roam the room and assist when needed. I check to see if the kids are following the sequence of steps.

One student tries to sort shapes without building the puzzle first. I ask her to put the blocks she has on the table back into the container and to start over by building a puzzle and then sorting.

I observe for accuracy of recorded information as well as the addition equations.

I also ask students to explain how they solved addition problems, how they sorted (reinforcing the skill) and why it is important to record what we have counted (science connection).

We work until time is up.


5 minutes

We close the lesson by gathering on the floor as sharing our experiences with today's lesson.

I call each table one at a time to quietly sit on the floor.

I call on random students to share their experience by pulling names from a name stick can.

The kids are encouraged to ask each other questions for clarification. I ask the kids how this lesson can help them with other activities they do in life.

One student says her mom is a baker at a grocery store and she sorts the cookies onto trays everyday so sorting is important. Her mom also has to count and record each type of cookie before placing the tray in the counter window.


The science lesson that we will be doing this week will look very similar to this. The kids will be sorting leaves from a pile. They will count and record how many of each leaf they have. This will clarify for them why we need to learn how to sort and how it helps us in the real world.