Thursday, September 3, 2015

Observing & Sorting by Weight, Texture

I really enjoy science and math units on sorting.  I'm pretty sure the kids do, too.  They have to think hard about all the different ways to sort, work together and discuss what they're doing out loud, and really look closely at the items they're given.  

I always open with the same lesson: dumping caps all over the floor and seeing what attributes the kids come up with to sort by!  In this picture, they're sorting by caps with ridges on the side and caps with no ridges on the side.  It was a chorus of "Ridges!" "No ridges!" "No ridges!" "Ridges!" as little feet moved frantically around the carpet.

Each day, we've had something different to sort.

Have you ever noticed how much kids love rocks?  I can't blame them; I had a rock collection when I was little that I still cherish to this day.  When I saw that we needed to sort by weight, I knew we had to weigh some rocks.  I didn't know just how well the lesson was going to go! We covered observation, estimation, counting, graphing, sorting and number lines in addition to discussing why some rocks which appear to be the same size differ in weight.  (One of our so-called rocks was actually charred wood, so we had a nice chat on composition too!)

Step 1: Find rocks. Each kid got to find his/her own rock.  Step 2: Explain how a balance scale works. Estimate how many cubes the rock will weigh.  Step 3: Count how many cubes it takes to balance the rock.  Step 4: Place the rock above the numeral showing the number of cubes it weighs.  Step 5: Analyze and discuss the resulting graph.

If your kid brought home a dirty rock, this is why! I had some kids say, "Mom won't let me bring rocks in the house." I told them, "I bet if you can explain why you have it, she'd let you. Just tell her how much it weighs!"  (Says the nearly twenty-seven-year-old who still picks up rocks and pretty leaves on hikes. Le sigh.)

Side note: Aren't you loving this carpet? We are.

Annaley brought us a special treat this week! A baby timber rattlesnake to observe! Don't worry. It was dead. (More specifically, missing a head.) And jarred. But this sparked some great discussion.  We watched a brief video on this type of snake and talked about what we noticed.  My students (and friends and family!) know how much I love snakes. I thought this was so cool.  Let me go ahead and link back to this post when I caught a snake and brought it into school! 

They were so intrigued. 

Today we moved on to exploring our sense of touch more with different textured fabrics.  We found out that our most sensitive skin is on our fingertips, but that any of our skin will respond to touch.  We felt textures with our hands and decided how to sort!

Then we took off our shoes and had a little barefoot fun!

We discussed which materials felt good beneath our feet and which ones we could do without.

How do you like to teach sorting? 
Any great ideas for sorting by flexibility? 
Sorting materials?
Throw 'em my way!

1 comment:

  1. That explains two things... 1. Why he is sorting anything AND everything & 2. Why I found a rock in the washing machine while doing laundry. 😊