Grade Level: preschool to 1st; Type: General Science
Encourage children to practice and refine sorting and classification skills essential to scientific research.
- Can you sort the buttons into sets?
- What do the buttons in each set have in common?
- Can you sort them into subsets?
- Can you sort them in other ways?
Sorting and classification are important skills for a scientist (think Periodic Table of Elements & Taxonomic Hierarchy). This project encourages children to practice and refine these skills. It lends itself to viewer participation when presented at a fair. Keep a list handy for participants to record all the different ways they’ve invented to sort and classify.
- A large variety of buttons. Alternatively (especially with the youngest children) you may use a variety of breakfast cereals which provides the added appeal of being safe and edible.
- Using a variety of buttons (the older the scientist, the more buttons are appropriate), sort them into sets.
- What do the buttons in each set have in common (how would you classify them)?
- If possible, sort each set into subsets.
- Resort the buttons in a different way. How would you classify these new sets of buttons?
- When presenting the results as a science fair project, it is fun to make the buttons available for sorting on the table.
Terms/Concepts: sort, classify, set, subset