Friday, October 16, 2015

More or Less: Skittle Graph

One thing that students have a lot of difficulty with in Kindergarten is ordering by count. 
Kids are naturally pretty good at sorting. They can sort by color, size, shape, number of holes on buttons, etc. But when they have to put those sorted piles in order from least to greatest, trouble arises.

I often get piles that go something like 5, 2, 7, 1 instead of 1, 2, 5, 7. Surprisingly, graphing is not something that's expected of kindergartners according to the common core math standards. But I feel like it helps kids see the visual growth when you line things up in tower form.  So, we made a Skittle graph.

I explained to students that they needed to pretend there was a little man on the steps (we called him "Fred"), and that Fred can't easily go up and down because he is so little.  He needs the least amount of variation between steps as possible.  This can only happen if we put our towers in order from least to greatest (or greatest to least), but not when we go up and down and up and down.

You can help students see this at home by doing similar activities - sorting cereal, coins, etc. - and making towers to see ones that are taller, or more, and ones that are shorter, or less.

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