Our interest in leaves last week inspired a throw-back morning message today. Four leaves were featured and we encouraged the children to support their choices with evidence. Some noticed that a leaf was a different shape or had a different proliferation of spots. Others pointed out the color differences. We were interested in finding many ways to group even a small selection of items.
Once we had experience with finding a single difference, we expanded the activity to combining like items to make sets.
The children invented the “rules” for these set circles.
The problem occurred when our final leaf was placed in the “not spiky” set. A few children disagreed about the general “spikiness” of the long, fern-like leaf. It looked “spiky” in its overall profile, but each individual leaf was actually rounded.
The children decided that it must go in both circles.
As you can see, another difficulty arose. If the leaf was in-between the circles, it was in neither group. If it was creating a bridge between the circles, it was partly in both circles.
It took a bit of playing with the string, but they did discover that if they overlapped the string, it would make a section for a leaf with both attributes.