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Sorting Trays: The Discrimination of Grains

Language

No specific terms are given.
The names of the seeds and grains can be introduced.

Purpose

Direct
To refine the stereognostic sense.

Control of Error
In the difference of color and shape of the seeds or grains.

Age
3 1/2 – 4 years

Notes
The blindfold is optional.
Change the grains often enough to keep the children coming back to use the material.


Materials

1 A tray with four saucers:

  • Three are filled with large items such as buttons or large beans.
  • The large saucer is empty.

2 A tray with four saucers:

  • Three are filled with different grains such as peas, beans, cloves, etc.
  • The large saucer is empty.               

3 A tray with four saucers:

  • Three are filled with different grains which are much smaller and finer than those in Tray 2, such as rice, mung beans, lentils, or finer grains, etc.
  • The large saucer is empty.

4 A blindfold

Presentation

Introduction

Before inviting the child, check the material you will be showing to see if all of the seeds or grains are in their correct saucer. Invite the child to come and work with you. Bring the child over to the shelves and show him the tray you will be working with (start with Tray 1 and move down to Tray 3). If this is the first time you are presenting the sorting trays, give the child the name of the material. (For later presentations, remind the student or ask the student for the name of the material.) Have the child carry the tray to the table and have him place it in the middle of the table. Then have him sit to your left.

Procedure 1: Sorting Large Items
- Pick up one of the large items in the saucer furthest to the right.
- Feel the item using both hands.
- Close your eyes and feel the item using both hands.
- Tell the child: “It feels different when I close my eyes”.
- Have the child feel the item with his eyes opened and closed.
- Then have him place this item into the large, empty saucer.
- Repeat for the other two large items in the other two saucers.
- Then place all of the items (except one of each) in the three saucers into the large saucer.
- Close your eyes and pick up one of the items from the large saucer.
- Keeping you eyes closed, feel the item and place it in its correct saucer.
- Always keeping your eyes closed, repeat until all of the items have been replaced into their correct saucer.
- Then, open your eyes and check each of the saucers for correct sorting.
- Invite the child to repeat the work as you have shown and offer him the use of the blindfold.

Procedure 2: Sorting Grains
- The procedure is the same as with procedure 1.

Procedure 3: Sorting Small Grains
- The procedure is the same as with procedure 1.

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