This is my favourite task. If I was in pre-k, I think I could have spent hours with sticks or rocks, lining them up in order of length. Actually, I probably did when I was.
The big idea behind this task is prompted by something I heard Nora Newcombe say at a conference last year. (Nora is a significant voice in mathematics education and research and has written heaps) She said that her research had found that, while a sense of number was not something that babies are born with, they do seem to possess an innate sense of "magnitude" - something being "more than" something else.
So I was interested to include a task where students can develop this skill, looking at objects and arranging them based on an attribute such as length or area. This task also provides an opportunity to reverse the process, to look at small, smaller and smallest.
It is not an accident that this task has used the nominative, comparative and superlative. This gives important links to grammar and language development in an informal context.
This task is linked to the second outcome from the Early Years Learning Framework:
Children are connected with and contribute to their world.
A big idea linked to this outcome is "change" - and this can be explored through the task by developing groups of objects that grow in a certain direction - by length, height, mass, area or in some other way. Children can see how they can add new objects to their sequence to make it grow.
Once again, if anyone gives this one a go and has any feedback, please let me know. I would love to hear about it.
And here's the link to the website: