Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count.

Progression of Skills

Enduring UnderstandingScreen shot 2013-07-12 at 11.44.15 AM.png

Measurement is used everyday to describe the world.
Data displays describe and show data in different ways.

Essential Questions

What does "what" we measure influence "how" we measure?
Why is data displayed in different ways?


length, weight, attribute

About the Math

Connect to other subject areas. For example, suppose that the students have been collecting rocks for classroom observation and they wanted to know if they have collected typical or unusual rocks. Ask students to discuss the measurable attributes of rocks. Lead them to first comparing the weights of the rocks. Have the class chose a rock that seems to be a “typical” rock. Provide the categories: Lighter Than Our Typical Rock and Heavier Than Our Typical Rock. Students can take turns holding a different rock from the collection and directly comparing its weight to the weight of the typical rock and placing it in the appropriate category. Some rocks will be left over because they have about the same weight as the typical rock. As a class, they count the number of rocks in each category and use these counts to order the categories and discuss whether they collected “typical” rocks.

Rich Tasks for Multiple Means of Engagement, Expression, and Representation (UDL)

Rich Problem:

Guess My Rule - Activity 11.2: Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics Grades K-3 (315).
For further Instructional Activities from this text, refer to Activity 11.1 (314) and Activity 11.3 (316).

  • Provide categories for students to use to sort a collection of objects. Each category can relate to only one attribute, like Red and Not Red or Hexagon and Not Hexagon, and contain up to 10 objects. Students count how many objects are in each category and then order the categories by the number of objects they contain.
  • Ask questions to initiate discussion about the attributes of shapes. Then have students sort a collection of two- dimensional and three-dimensional shapes by their attributes. Provide categories like Circles and Not Circles or Flat and Not Flat. Have students count the objects in each category and order the categories by the number of objects they contain.
  • Have students infer the classification of objects by guessing the rule for a sort. First, the teacher uses one attribute to sort objects into two loops or regions without labels. Then the students determine how the objects were sorted, suggest labels for the two categories and explain their reasoning.
external image buttons-mixed.jpg
  • Attribute blocks
  • Yarn for loops
  • Large paper to draw loops
  • A variety of objects to sort like buttons, beans, or gems from a craft store.
  • Woozle Cards (link to Van de Walle BLM 44)


Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 10.09.26 AM.png
Login: eea.guest Password: eealms

Online Resources

Sorting Attribute Blocks

Print Resources:

  • Lesson 1, Sort by One attribute (pg. 92)
  • Lesson 2, Sort by Two Attributes (pg. 94)
  • Lesson 3, Determine the Sorting Rule (pg. 96)
  • Lesson 1, Exploring Pictographs (pg. 126)
  • Lesson 2, Exploring Bar Graphs (pg. 129)

Investigations Lessons that Support the Standard:

Common Core Alignment


Contact John SanGiovanni at