Sorting Extravaganza! (Age 6)

The Activities

  1. Topic: Numbers. Book: Missing Math: A Number Mystery, by Leedy. This is a fun, but simple book about all the numbers disappearing. It illustrates various places we depend on numbers, like calendars and phone numbers. In the book, one character can’t remember how old she is because the numbers have disappeared. One kid from circle said she would remember how old she is, even if there are no numbers.
  2. Topic: Counting, Adding, Sorting. I brought out a set of dominoes that went up to 6 on each end. We played two different games, suggested by the book, Dominoes, by Planet Dexter
    1. Lost Domino: Pick a domino and count the spots. Then put it face down with the other dominos and mix them around. The kids take turns flipping over one domino and counting the spots to see if it is the lost domino.
    2. Domino Sort: Mix the dominoes face down. Each kid takes 6 dominoes and then sorts them by the total number of dots on the domino.
  3. Topic: Sorting, Teamwork. I made cards numbered from 1 – 99 out of poster board. I shuffled the cards, then gave a stack to each kid. The kids had to work together with no help from me to sort all the cards. First we did it with cards 1 – 50. After that went well, I added in cards up to 99.

How did it go?

This was the first circle in a few weeks for some of the kids. All five kids were here. Three of the kids had just had a week-long winter break from their schools. There was a lot of energy, but they were also amazingly focused, especially during the team sorting activity. Overall, it was a great circle.

Domino Sorting

Lost Domino was very easy for everyone, so we played just one round.  Domino sorting with dominos with up to 6 dots per side went pretty easily for all the kids. They all wanted to add in dominoes that go up to 9 dots per side, which made the activity much harder for most of the kids. Two could still sort them independently, but the other three needed more help.  Everyone was pretty interested in this.

Each kid ended up individually sorting 1/5 of the dominoes.  I suggested that we could sort all the dominoes together in the middle, and I organized this by asking “who has a 0 domino?” “A one?” Most the of kids kept their dominoes sorted, but one kid mixed her stack up, which made it much harder for her.  Several kids kept asking me and other how many dots various dominoes had.  In the end, we had a very nice layout of the sorted dominoes.


Sorting Together

The kids’ number recognition has really improved in the last few months, so they were ready to try sorting a bunch of cards together. I try not to help during this activity, because I want the kids to come up with their own strategies, and own evaluations of what worked and didn’t work.

First we did cards 1 – 50. It took the kids about five minutes to sort. Most of the kids laid their cards out on the floor so they could all search for the next number. This works very well, if you are using brute search.

The kids then all really wanted to try the cards up to 99. I warned them that it is *much* harder, and that the bigger kids couldn’t do it the first time they tried. Everyone still really wanted to do it. I shuffled the cards and gave each kid a stack, the said “Go!”.  The kids worked really well together, and stayed focused the whole time, even when the big kids finished their circle and came down and ran around a bit.

Again, things went best when the kids put their cards out on the ground. Some kids did not want to do this, which definitely slowed everyone down.  I even suggested to my son that he should put down his cards, but he felt like he owned those cards, and didn’t want to share them. Eventually he did put them down, but got a bit upset when someone else picked up some of his cards. “55 is mine, I remember!”.

Two kids really took the lead in calling out what number was needed next. 4 of the 5 kids helped search for the numbers. The fifth held onto his cards mostly, but was still very focused.  One kid would find streaks of numbers (51, 52, 53, 54, 55) and hand them off to others to add to the chain. Unfortunately, this meant double the sorting work, since the numbers would get mixed up in the transfer.

After 19 minutes, all the cards were sorted, stretching all the way out of the kitchen, under the dining room table, to the wall. Everyone cheered!

We’ll have to do this again in a couple weeks, and see if they can beat their time.


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