As you all may have guessed by now, I‘m a reformed hoarder. I’ve ended up selling everything I own to take this RV adventure, but there are a few things I’ve kept. And one of those things is a big 3 gallon bag of quarter size knick knacks. I’ve got buttons, marbles, glass beads, and other small random small objects. It’s a gold mine for fun math activities!

First, we use them as markers for board games or other math monday games (especially the Magic Multiple stuff!).

Secondly, it makes for a fantastic sorting activity.

You may not think of sorting as particularly mathmatical. However, the simple act of sorting can be applied to so many math standards…here’s a small example. If you click through this link and do some of these sorting activities (grade K-2) here’s what you’ll be doing:

Academic Standards and Assessment for Mathematics-

2.1.3- Numbers, Number Systems and Number Relationships-

G. Use concrete objects to count, order, and group.

2.4.3- Mathematical Reasoning and Connections-

A. Make, check and verify predictions about the quantity, size and shape of objects and groups of objects.

2.6.3- Statistics and Data Analysis-

A. Gather, organize and display data using pictures, tallies, charts, bar graphs and pictographs. C. Predict the likely number of times a condition will occur based on analyzed data.

2.8.3- Algebra and Functions-

A. Recognize, describe, extend, create, and replicate a variety of patterns including attribute, activity, number and geometric patterns. H. Describe and interpret the data shown in tables and charts.Objectives:

The students will develop the skills to examine a group of objects and determine possible ways to categorize them.

The students will be able to analyze and classify data in different ways allowing them to sort them into groups.

The students will be able to distinguish similarities and differences between objects.

The students will be able to draw a bar graph using the data they found from sorting their show-n-tell items.

The students will be able to arrange objects from largest to smallest.

So, don’t underestimate the power of sorting and classifying!

First, Sassy sorts through and gets all the glass beads. Then she sorts them according to some criteria she decides. Sometimes it’s by size, sometimes shape, sometimes color. Today, she sorted them by color.

and then found a couple stragglers that didn’t match anything else but themselves:

We sort things all the time. When we’re at the beach, after we’ve collected seashells, we sort them however Sassy decides. In restaurants, we put everything on the table in the middle and sort them into groups. This takes some imagination…like, ‘things we use to eat with’, ‘things we eat’, ‘things we don’t use to eat with or eat’.

If your kids are older, you can take sorting into other directions. Using the good ole Venn Diagram idea, you can use the same simple materials to sort things into multiple categories and then see where they overlap. Best of all, especially when you’re on the road like we are, this can be done anywhere, anytime, with just about anything.

our favorite sorting games:

older kids–

SET Game

younger kids–

Beginning Sorting Set – 168 Pieces

Let’s Tackle Math Patterning and Sequencing Set

UNIFIX Letter Cubes, Alphabet Sorting Box Only

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kathy springer, on March 22, 2010 at 10:38 pm said:we are big sorters over here – its great fun!

Krishna Leela, on March 23, 2010 at 2:17 am said:Thanks for the post. Kids were dying to buy these beads but till now I cudnt find much use with them. ๐

Sassy’s classes are being a great help to me ! Keep on going. Yesterday only I was thinking how I miss ur Math Monday posts and today lo here I am . It reminds me of the gifts of the Universe . ๐

Carrie, on March 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm said:Where did you get your 3 gallon bags? I’ve been looking for them ever since I read your post about how you “downsized” all your games (FANTASTIC idea!), but I can’t find them. So far the biggest I can find is a 2 gallon bag. Thanks!

childsplay, on March 23, 2010 at 3:05 pm said:I found mine at Target, have you looked there?

Sent from my iPhone

Carrie, on March 24, 2010 at 7:38 pm said:No, just Wally World. I’ll look at Target. Thanks!

Sarah, on March 23, 2010 at 3:29 pm said:I just used your downsizing idea of putting games into large plastic bags last night. I’m trying to organize my 1200 sf home to allow for extra room/materials/books for homeschooling and now those games that occupied a large part of the living room all fit nice and neat under the window seat. Thanks for the great idea!

Random question – I don’t see you do many posts about cooking/baking…are you a big cooker/baker? How to you feed 3 kids in an RV?