You say tomAto and I say TOMaTO!

Sub-Project: Developing the concept of our biodiversity worldwide!

Description: Children have a natural desire to make sense of their world, to create order in a world that seems largely out of their control. For that reason, sorting activities often attract children. In fact, many children will start sorting things without even being taught. Sorting in fact is a pre-math skill. By sorting, children understand that things are alike and different as well as that they can belong and be organized into certain groups.

In this fun sorting activity, we combine this pre-math skill to highlighting the biodiversity, something our kids need to cherish if we want to keep our natural heritage. Take a seasonal fruit or vegetable, in this case a tomato, and try to select at least 5 different types with clear differences in color, shape and size. Have the children sort by size, shape, color and size.

This activity will also stimulate children on a “sensorial” level. In fact, Maria Montessori encouraged children to sort in specific ways that use all of the child’s senses, one at a time, in order to refine them to train the brain to create more organized thoughts and ways of retrieving information.

To use the Montessori way of sorting, sort by thermic sense (detecting differences in temperature), tactile sense (touch), auditory sense (discriminating sounds), olfactory sense (noticing differences between smells), gustatory sense (refining and discriminating taste), baric sense (refining differences between weight or pressure), stereognostic sense (judging shape and size through touch alone), and the visual sense (detecting similarities and differences using the eyes which also develops muscular sense)

Collaborative Project: How many of fruit or vegetables can you find that have at least 5 different varieties associated to it? And how do these vary according to the country you’re in? Learn more about biodiversity in regions different from your own. Collaborate with a school from another country or continent and ask them to send you a picture of their fresh market (outdoor market) so that you can see what kind of vegetables are available in different parts of the world. And remember, supermarkets don’t count!

Learning Objective: Pre-maths skills of sorting, sensory development, biodiversity of fruit and vegetables.

Time frame: All year


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