Sorting Rocks, Rocks!
Rocks can be all sorts of fun for sorting! They can be sorted by size, shape and colour. They can be sorted in groups or it can be done in gradients. Children can be free to sort them and organise them in any way they like. It’s a great way for them to begin to think about similarities and differences and how things can be similar in some ways and different in others. Sorting objects by one variable (e.g. by colour) is the most simplistic form of data handling. That is why it is ideal for toddlers and preschoolers who are learning about similarities and differences. It will prepare them for more complicated forms of sorting and data handling such as venn diagrams, pictographs and eventually more complicated representations of data.
Questions to ask
- Which ones are large/big? Which ones are small?
- Are these the same colour or different?
- Do these two go together? Why or why not?
- Would this rock go in this pile? Why or why not?
What they get from it
This provides children with the opportunity to sort and classify. They can develop problem solving and reasoning skills through explaining and justifying the way in which they have sorted the rocks. Discussing with children why they have sorted things in a certain way also gives them further opportunities to develop their language. This will prepare children for more complicated forms of data handling such as Venn Diagrams, then pictographs.
Take it further
Children can begin to look at gradients – things are not always clearly in one group or another. Children can begin to think about how things are not always one thing or the other, there can be many variants in between.
See my post on using Venn Diagrams with Leaves (coming soon), the next step in data handling for young children.