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# Lesson Plan

Algebra: Sorting, Representing, and Patterns
 Subject: Math Grade span: K to 2 Duration: 20 to 30 minutes
This lesson was excerpted from the Afterschool Training Toolkit under the promising practice: Math Centers
Click here to view a Video Example of this type of lesson.

Description:

This sample lesson is one example of how you can implement Math Centers. In this activity, students use algebra skills and thinking to sort objects and recognize patterns, relationships, and functions.

Learning Goals:

• Explore open-ended problems
• Use numbers or objects to express quantities and relationships
• Recognize patterns, relations, and functions

Materials:

• Graph paper and unlined paper
• Pencils (have colors on hand)
• Objects to sort, such as buttons, beans, paper clips, or candy
• Paper plates

Preparation:

• Use the materials you have to create inviting areas (centers) where students have access to all materials they may need.
• Have objects to sort mixed in a large bowl or bag at each center and place a handful on a plate for each student.

What to Do:

• Assign students to small groups of four or five for each center.
• Review the objects with students, and ask them how each one is similar or different (shape, color, size, use, texture).
• Ask students to sort the objects on their plate in any way they like. Observe the variety of ways in which students are sorting. Ask students to share their strategies with the other students at their centers.
• Then ask students to use graph paper or unlined paper and pencils or crayons to represent the amount of each type of item they have grouped. Have them compare their totals within their groups. See Sample Sorting Chart (PDF).
• As students work together, circulate and ask guiding questions that encourage students to think for themselves.
• Next, have students play with patterns using the objects they have sorted. Ask all students to create the same pattern on their plate (for example, two candies, one button, two candies, one button).
• Then ask them to represent the pattern on their paper numerically (2, 1, 2, 1). Students should then have opportunity to explore other patterns on their own and within their groups.

Teaching Tips:

Some students will recognize similarities and differences among objects better than others. As students work to sort their objects, ask questions that will encourage students to discuss their thoughts. For example, if a student is putting different objects together, ask if these objects are the same and why objects are the same or not, to help them understand sorting based on similarities and differences. You may want to model sorting and patterns for students to help them learn.

Evaluate (Outcomes to look for):

• Student participation and engagement
• Understanding of similarities and differences among objects
• Understanding of relationships and patterns among objects
• Ability to represent quantities in a table
• Students working together to problem solve

Standards: