Lesson plan

Earth Sort

In this lesson, students will practice sorting many of the unique things the world has to offer into groups and gain some new insights into how things are connected in the process!
Grade Subject View aligned standards

No standards associated with this content.

Which set of standards are you looking for?

Students will be able to identify and sort Earth related objects.

(5 minutes)
  • Call student together. Explain to students that Earth Day is coming up.
  • Pass out sticky notes and have students write or draw at least one thing that exists on the planet Earth. Once students are done completing the post it notes, have them post them on the whiteboard or wall in front of the group.
(10 minutes)
  • Inform students that they will be sorting these sticky notes into different categories. Suggest to students that one way to divide the sticky notes is into "Things That Live in Water" and "Things That Live on Land."
  • Go through all of the sticky notes with the group asking whether the item on each notes lives on land or in water. For items that may not clearly live in one or the other, suggest a third grouping for "None" or "Either."
  • Brainstorm a list of other ways to divide the Earth items as a group. Some ideas might include: "Things With Hair" and "Things Without," "Things That Can Move" and "Things That are Stationary." Sort the sticky notes again as a whole group based on one of these categories.
(10 minutes)
  • Have students go through magazines looking for pictures of things found on Earth. Encourage students to cut out a few pictures that stand out to them.
  • Instruct students to pair up or form small groups to perform a sort of the photos they cut out of the magazines. Tell students that they can choose one of the brainstormed ideas or one that their group comes up with.
  • After giving students a few minutes to sort pictures with their partner or small group, have students share with the whole class what categories they chose and some of the items in each category.
  • Explain to students that they will now be returning to their seats to work alone or with a partner on a new sort. Have student volunteers pass out colored paper and glue/tape to students. Encourage students to cut out more photos for use in sorting into at least two groups on their paper.
  • Remind students of any rules and expectations for independent and small group times (i.e. quiet voices, no running, raising hands to get a teacher’s attention).
  • Before sending students off to work, make sure that there are no questions.
(15 minutes)
  • While students are working, any adults in the room should be circulating, answering questions, taking anecdotal notes, and checking in with students.
  • One way to reduce student talking is to have light music playing in the background. Classical music often works well for this.

Support: For students who need some extra assistance, having objects pre-cut out or categories pre-decided can remove some of the extra pressures from the sorting task. Additionally, working with a peer can serve to scaffold the assignment.

Enrichment: For students needing a greater challenge, encourage sorting into three or more categories at the same time.

(5 minutes)
  • Anecdotal notes taken during student conversations and work times can be used to gauge student interest in the activity as well as progress towards the lesson objective. Making use of unique sorts and categorizations can also be useful for the closing discussions!
  • Checking (or having a peer review) the accuracy of a completed sort or two for each student can help determine whether or not students have met the lesson objective.
(10 minutes)
  • Call students back together.
  • Ask students to share about their experiences sorting things found on Earth. What were the most interesting items they sorted? What are some categories they sorted items into? Were there any items they couldn’t identify? What was their favorite category? What did students learn about the Earth?
  • If time allows, try one last sort as a group.
  • Remind students that this is a fun activity they can do at home with their families.
  • Leave out the supplies to do this during free time later in the week if students so wish.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items