Engage your students with effective distance learning resources. ACCESS RESOURCES>>

Sort and Count II

Alignments to Content Standards: K.MD.B.3



  • Ziplock bags containing 10-30 small objects (such as buttons or shapes cut out of construction paper) with different characteristics.


Students get a bag of small objects. Each bag should contain objects that can be sorted in multiple ways. For example, if the bag contains round buttons, students can sort by color, size, or the number of holes in each button. If the bag contains different shapes in different colors, they can sort by color or shape.

  • Students take their bag and spill it onto a large sheet of paper or a tray. Students then sort them according to one attribute such as color, shape, size, or some other attribute.

  • When they have sorted all of the objects, students then count the number of objects in each group.

  • When students have finished sorting and counting according to one attribute, they sort and count according to another attribute.

IM Commentary

The purpose of this task is for students to sort the same set of objects according to different attributes and to practice counting to tell the number of objects in a set (K.MD.B). The teacher can extend the task by asking the students which group has the most and which group has the least and if any of the groups have the same number.

For students who are struggling with the concept of categorizing, the teacher can provide bags of objects which can only be sorted one way. For example, a bag could contain small counting bears that are identical except color, with only two or three colors of bears in each bag. For students who are ready for more of a challenge, they can record their sorted groups on a piece of paper. Students can draw or sketch the objects, record the number of objects in each group, and can record the name for each group. Because kindergarteners are learning to sound out and write, the teacher should accept any way that the students record the name of each group. A student might write simply “r” for rectangle or “s” for circle or could draw a picture for each. Teachers should ensure that the number of objects that are in the sorting bags are within the known counting sequence for students.

K.MD Sort and Count II can be introduced after the students have played the whole-class sorting game described in K.MD Sort and Count I, http://www.illustrativemathematics.org/tasks/799.


The teacher should accept any way the child wants to sort the objects, so long as the child can explain their reasoning. For example a student might sort by “buttons I think are pretty” vs “buttons I don’t think are pretty.”