Sorting it Out.

The Simplicity of a Sorting Activity.

I was reminded of how fun and dynamic a simple sorting activity can be to activate the brain and trigger thinking as students raced against the clock, working as teams.

As a warm up in 8th grade social studies, we played a game that involved students working collaboratively in randomly selected teams to sort questions under the appropriate ICGRAPES (Intellect, Culture, Geography, Religion, Arts, Politics, Economics & Society). The timer was set to 5 minutes.

It was curious to observe how students had to figure out how to work collaboratively and efficiently. In some cases, they had to be reminded to get involved and all take slips of questions rather than initially observing one student get it all going. Once gently reminded, they got into it and found ways to support each other. The dialogue was great, hearing them grappling as they tried to determine which question best fit which ICGRAPES. One of my biggest takeways was that I need to incorporate more simple, fun, hands-on activities. They can be used as warm-ups or ice-breakers, energizers (in the middle of a lesson) or as an exit activities.

I realised that this simple sorting game was a great example of achieving “simplexity” — a simple activity resulting in critical thinking, collaboration, dialogue and active engagement.