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Language and Communication sort items by property and function  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


To sort items into groups based on their function or on their properties, and to add further items.

Early years skill:not specified
Early years typical range:not specified
P-scales/Curriculum skill:Materials and Their Properties
P-scales/Curriculum level:L2
TAP skill:Language (old categories)
TAP level:TAP72
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Primary (5-11yrs) info; Secondary (11-16yrs) info
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Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Categories Challenge

Picture cards. These can be related to class topic vocabulary

Have each adult and child in the group take it in turns to make the cards into 2 groups (or 3 if necessary).

The cards in each group must all share a property or a function e.g. made of metal / transport (encourage the children not to base their groups purely on appearance).

Write down the categories that are thought of, so that the children can review them.

This is a very flexible activity, which can be used for a very wide range of vocabulary. If the children can read, you could use written words rather than pictures.

Shopping List

Flash cards with possible properties and functions written on them (e.g. hard, rough, things you wear, things you use to cut with, things you can read, etc.)

A dice

Each child throws the dice, and takes a card.

They have to think of as many items which would go with that card as the number they have thrown (e.g. 5 things you can wear on your feet / 4 things that would float)

If 6 items is too challenging, use a 1 - 3 dice.

You could also extend the activity by having the other children in the group add more items to a group.

You could stick the flash card into a notebook, and write / draw each item that is thought of around it. Each time you do the activity you will be building up a bank of words linked into categories.

Add One

Assorted picture cards.

(They can be linked to class topic vocabulary. Make sure there are cards from a range of different categories)

Give each child 4 cards. They have to make them into 2 or 3 groups.

When one child has done this, they can shout 'add one', and everyone takes an extra card. Each child now has 5 cards, and must make these 5 cards into 2 or 3 new groups.

The process repeats until the cards are all used or until everyone has a target number of cards.

This activity should only be used with vocabulary items the children are familiar with.

When the children have a number of cards, it will be easier if they can make more than 3 groups.

If they are finding it challenging, remove the time pressure. This means that each child has as long as they need to make 2 or 3 groups. When each child has finished, everyone then takes an additional card.

Semantic Links

This activity requires the purchasing of a commercial programme. SLTs/specialist teachers - help to further develop this sheet by providing an example or description of alternative resources to use in this activity.

Worksheet from Semantic Links programme - available from Stass Publications

Choose one with 3 choices.

Explain to the children that the picture in the middle only goes with one of the ones around the outside.

Discuss which two pictures go together, and why. Make sure that the reason you choose is based on the item's function or a property (e.g. it is cold) rather than just appearance.

Add other items to that category by drawing more circles onto the worksheet.

See if the children can think of any other categories for the items on the sheet.

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