Sorting by More Than One Attribute

Learning about Sorting and Grouping

Object Type: Video Clip
Loading Media...
Learning about Sorting and Grouping

Explore the concepts of alike and different. Understand the steps taken to sort or classify objects into groups. Learn to group objects according to one attribute and multiple attributes. Discover how the five senses are helpful in sorting objects. Sort objects by texture, shape, size, color, and mass. Learn that sorting relates to a variety of arenas including sorting producers and consumers, money from different countries, animals and plants, geometric figures, and letters and words.

What makes things alike and different? Learn to sort objects into groups and discover how the five senses help in sorting objects.

  1. Students will understand the classification process, which consists of two actions: Sorting and Grouping.
    1. Sorting is the method by which people separate objects that are not alike.
    2. Grouping is the method by which people put objects together that share a particular characteristic; this composition of like things is called a group. It is important that one names each group (ex: rough things, smooth things, red things, blue things, etc.).
    3. It is also important to know that people must choose parameters by which they perform the classification process; for example, will they sort by color, size, shape, texture, sound, etc?
  2. Students will realize that all five senses (sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste) are used to perform the classification process.
  3. Students will know how to sort objects that can belong to more than one group. A Venn diagram, which consists of two overlapping circles, is helpful in this situation. For example, if red and blue objects are being sorted (blue goes in one circle and red goes in another circle), and there is an object with both blue and red, the object is placed in the overlapping part of the diagram.
  4. Students will understand that the classification process can be used within a group to create subgroups. For example, a group of red objects may be sorted by texture; this would create two subgroups ("rough" and "smooth") within the "red" group.

  1. Begin by sorting a group of objects (lids of different kinds of containers — provide a lot of options) by one attribute (big, not big, etc.). Sort each group into a smaller group, also by one attribute. Continue to sort into smaller and smaller subgroups. Record the sub grouping if possible. When sorting is complete, choose a list of attributes (big lids that are clear and have no writing on them, for example). Count the objects in this group and represent that number with stacking cubes. Do this with a variety of groups and let students compare the number of objects in each group using the stacking cubes.
  2. Have students sort themselves by the kinds of clothes they are wearing (shorts, pants, etc.), hair color, or similar. For example, do not sort people by the brand names they are wearing, or by any attribute that might hurt someone's feelings or make them feel left out.