Subject: Mathematics

Age of pupils: 6-7 years

Items to be sorted: Pictures of red cubes


Groups envisaged:

  • Order – caos
  • One row – two rowes (5 and ...) – pairs – two groups - caos
  • Seven – eight – ten
  • Oddnumbers – even numbers


Conclusions to be arrived at:

  • It is better to count an compare quantity if things are organised rather than in caos.
  • The same number can be made in many ways.
  • Pictures can show if a number is odd or even.
  • You can find five in the numbers: 7, 8 and 10
  • You can count by two´s up to 8 and 10 and almost up to 7
  • You can split the quantity of 7 up in two groups and it can also be done with 8 and 10.


Pedagogical functions defined:

  • Pupils learn that you can make the same number in many ways.


My experience of this sorting task.

I have tried this sorting task with three different pairs of pupils, two groups of 7 years old and one group of 9 years old. They all have difficulties in mathematics and the pairs acted differently towards the task. One group (9 years) focused on how the cubes were organised and began to sort by that and when I had asked questions they sorted in two other ways. One group began to sort in three groups by numbers of cubes. After I had asked some questions they tried to sort by other features but it always let to the number groups. The last group had difficulties in understanding the concept „sorting“ and didn´t know what to do. I tried to explain and they sorted in order and caos after some discussion. I tried to get them to sort in other ways but they didn´t manage to do so in the time given.(Picture of the red cubes. must follow)


Is this a thinking task?

It may be a thinking task for some pupils and not for others. It depends on what the pupils do know before they work on this task.


# Alexander Sokol 2014-10-18 15:06
Birna, thanks for sharing. I agree with you that it always depends whether a task is thinking. It would be interesting, though, to have your specific comments on different pairs you tried it with. With whom was it more of a thinking task? With whom less? Would you change anything when you are working with this task next time?
And, yes, seeing the pictures would have been useful. Thanks.
# Birna Hugrún Bjarnardóttir 2014-10-23 18:00
The pair of 7 years old that always ended up sorting by numbers did the most thinking. The 9 years old could find the most ways to sort but they didn´t think about the combination of the numbers as did the 7 years old group. The last group didn´t think of quantity at all, just order and caos.
I also made cards with cubes in the quantity of 16, 17 and 20. I think I would like to add them to the cards with the quantity of 7, 8 and 10 and try the task again with the same groups to find out if they would sort differently with larger quantities and more cards.
Alexander, can you inform me how I can attach some pictures with this task?
# Alexander Sokol 2014-11-10 22:15
Thanks, Birna. Please share after you've tried it again.
Have you also had a chance to try any other sorting tasks?
Please take a look here re adding pictures:
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