# Sorting Rules!

Sorting according to rules is a mathematical concept that should be taught during the Early Years at school. We use sorting our entire lives but it is not a skill that children know innately and so it must be taught.

**Materials:**

• Objects to sort, such as buttons, pastas of different shapes/colors, small toys, coins, keys, and Lego or blocks or beads that differ in size and color. Be sure to have enough objects that all the children in the class have something to sort. Buckets of different objects can be switched from table to table to provide variety during the activity.

• Green construction paper (one for every two students) with one large circle on it.

• Blue construction paper (one for every two students) with two large circles on it.

• Yellow construction paper (one for every two students) with two large overlapping circles on it (a Venn diagram).

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```**Procedure:**

• Place students into partners.

• Hand out a green paper to each pair.

• Have one child sort one type of thing into the circle and then tell his/her partner the sorting rule (e. g. All the things in the circle are red.).

• Then have the partners switch roles.

• After this has been practiced several times, partners can try to guess each other’s sorting rules.

• Collect the green sheets and hand out the blue sheets.

• Have one child sort one kind of thing into one circle and another kind of thing into the other circle and then tell his/her partner the sorting rules used (e.g. All the yellow buttons are in one circle and all the shiny buttons are in the other circle.) Then have the students switch roles. Practice several times. Partners can then try guessing each other’s sorting rules.

• **Note:** It may a good idea to save the yellow sheet for another day if you see that some students are having significant difficulty with the blue sheet.

• Demonstrate, on the board, how the yellow sheet is used. You can use fun tack to stick the yellow sheet onto the board and the small objects onto the yellow sheet. (Alternatively, if your board is magnetic, you can stick the yellow sheet on to the board and use magnetic objects for sorting.) Place one kind of thing into one circle and another type of thing into the other circle; the middle contains things that work with both rules. For example, triangles are in one circle, pink objects are in the other circle, and pink triangles are in the middle. Explain to children that they cannot use the same trait (e.g. color) for both circles.

• Hand out the yellow sheet to each pair.

• Have pairs of students try this sorting activity.

My son is learning Geography sorting rules. What is a sorting rule?

It’s me again, He is learning objects.