Junior Infant Maths: sorting & classifying

I am so excited to be teaching Junior Infants again! Junior Infant maths is so much fun. Next week we will be exploring the Early Maths Activities Strand (EMA) of Classifying. We will learn to:

  • classify objects on the basis of one attribute, such as colour, shape, texture or size
  • identify the complement of a set (i.e. elements not in a set or the “odd one out”)

We will be making closed sets where the teacher defines the sorts and gives the category by which the items will be sorted. Once children are familiar with the concept of classifying objects we will move onto open sets. Children will decide for themselves how to sort the objects in front of them. This encourages divergent thinking, problem solving and logical thinking.

When teaching all maths topics is it crucially important that we move from the concrete to the abstract. Children need to have lots and lots of hands-on -experience physically sorting counters, bottle tops, buttons, counters, animals, transport items… The list goes on…

Here are a few ways that you could suggest if you are making closed sets:

  • by colour (red set, green set and yellow set or  red things and things that are not red)
  • by size ( big and small, big animals and small animals, small red car and small green cars)
  • things I eat and things I play with
  • thing we find in the sky, on land, in the sea.
  • zoo animals and farm animals
  • spotty socks, stripy socks, plain socks or my socks and Mom’s socks (help with the laundry anyone?!!!!)

There are a staggering number of ways that things can be sorted into sets. Sometimes children amaze me with the classifications that they create during open sets. Often they see ways of sorting that I had never thought of!

Here is a really fun Sesame Street game that encourages children to sort animals by colour, big/small, long ears/short ears… It’s called Zoe’s Pet Shelter

Can you guess the rules for the set below?!!!

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 14.20.34

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 14.22.33

Click here to play Zoe’s Pet Shelter!

I am crossing my fingers and toes that my school laptop will be replaced by Monday so that I can play these with my class. It completely died on Friday afternoon and I am frantic. I use my Interactive Whiteboard all the time. Last year it was out of use for a few months when the bulb went. Then my laptop went shortly after the bulb was replaced. The computer memory was wiped and returned to me minus my work!! I have way, way too much to back it up on a USB! Now its gone again one day into the new school year! I am cracking up!!  Sorry for the rant. It might not have fixed the computer but it sure make me feel better?! Anyone else in the same boat?

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂


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