How and why to use Math Sorts in Your Classroom (Free Download)

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Math Activity - Free Math Sorting Activity - Perfect math center or test prep reviewWhy use math sorts?

  1. Discussions
  2. Differentiation
  3. Aligned to the standards
  4. No-prep
  5. FUN!
1. Discussions

We constantly tell students to show their work or explain their thinking. Using math sorts weekly will give students practice in putting their thinking into words. Your students will use math vocabulary as they explain how they sorted their cards. They will learn from each other as they collaborate in groups. You can quickly assess student learning as you listen to their conversations.

2. Differentiation

I’ve included two versions of each math sort. The first version includes the category labels. This version tells the students how to sort each card. It gives them a starting point to explain how they sorted their cards. The second version requires students to come up with the math vocabulary on their own. There may also be more than one way to sort the cards. An excellent way to extend each math sort is to have students create their own cards for each category.

3. Aligned to the Standards

Each bundle of math sorts is aligned to the Common Core state standards. You can quickly find the topic you are working on. Each math sort focuses on one topic, so you can easily align the activity to your state’s standards. Multiple math sorts are included for each math standard.

4. No-Prep

Math Sorts are truly a print-and-go resource! Do your students need to review rounding, shape attributes, or equivalent fractions? Simply print a class set of the math sort and you are good to go 🙂

5. FUN!

Math Sorts are a much needed break from the textbook. Students enjoy cutting, sorting, and talking with their friends. This is one activity they will look forward to completing!

Day 1 Activities

Directions for Math Sorts - How to complete math sorting activities in your classroom. Math Talk activities are perfect for math vocabulary practice and discussions

I give each student a number (alphabetical order). This helps me organize their papers quickly. It is helpful for students to put their number on the back of each card. You can quickly find the owner of that card on the floor.

  • The first step is to have students cut out the cards.
  • Students then complete each card (if necessary) and begin sorting them into categories.
  • Encourage students to discuss with their partner how they sorted their cards.
  • Finally, students store their cards in a baggie. They will glue their math sorting cards on the second day.

Day 2 Activities

Directions for Math Sorts - How to complete math sorting activities in your classroom. Math Talk activities are perfect for math vocabulary practice and discussions

  • Once again, students sort their cards and discuss how they sorted them.
  • Now students will glue their cards inside their math notebook. A simple composition book works best.
  • After gluing the cards, students write down a few sentences in their math notebook that explain how they sorted their cards.
  • To extend the activity, students can create their own cards for each category.

Binder Sheets for Organization

Organize your Math Sorts for guided math groups in this binder. Math binder includes lesson plan templates to organize guided math groups.

There are a lot of math sorts included in each math bundle. I created some sheets to help you stay organized!

Organize your Math Sorts for guided math groups in this binder. Math binder includes lesson plan templates to organize guided math groups.

If you’d like to complete these math sorts during guided math, each bundle includes a small groups lesson plan template. You can keep track of which math sorts you’ve competed with each group.

During whole group instruction, you can use this sheet to take anecdotal notes of a few students as you walk around the classroom and listen to and guide their conversations.

Organize your Math Sorts for guided math groups in this binder. Math binder includes lesson plan templates to organize guided math groups. Organize your Math Sorts for guided math groups in this binder. Math binder includes lesson plan templates to organize guided math groups.

I’ve also included dividers for each math domain (left picture). It would be a good idea to include a master copy of each math sort in each section. You could also use this binder to store the math sorts you plan to use in the next couple of weeks.

Dividers for Notebook

Math notebook dividers for interactive notebook. Includes learning goals. Organize your Math Sorts for guided math groups in this binder. Math binder includes lesson plan templates to organize guided math groups.

Now lets talk about keeping the students organized. The math sorts are grouped into 5 domains.

  1. Operations & Algebraic Thinking
  2. Number & Operations in Base 10
  3. Fractions
  4. Measurement & Data
  5. Geometry

I’ve included notebook dividers for each domain. They include the learning goals (left picture) and also a spot for students to keep track of when they complete each sort (right picture). There is also a spot for notes and a score. You don’t need to ‘grade’ each math sort, but this is available to you as needed.

Math notebook dividers for interactive notebook. Includes learning goals. Organize your Math Sorts for guided math groups in this binder. Math binder includes lesson plan templates to organize guided math groups. Math notebook dividers for interactive notebook. Includes learning goals. Organize your Math Sorts for guided math groups in this binder. Math binder includes lesson plan templates to organize guided math groups.


Download a FREE Sample!

The best way to see why you should be using math sorts is to try them out! Click on the images below for a free sample.

Free 2nd Grade Math Sorting Activities for Math Workshop Free 3rd Grade Math Sorting Activities for Math Workshop

Free 4th Grade Math Sorting Activities for Math Workshop Free 5th Grade Math Sorting Activities for Math Workshop

What Teachers are Saying

One of the things I’m most excited to use with math students this year! The posted standard makes them easy to align with my daily lessons. The 2 variations make differentiation easy, too. The “cut & paste” feature gives kids a small kinesthetic element, while the pieces are all large enough for 9 years olds to cut & manipulate with ease. Thank you for creating such quality products! – The Maen Teacher

Just can’t get enough of math sorts to use with my students. They are the most effective way to discuss and assess understanding. Thanks – Kathryn A.

If I could give an A+, I would! These activities are easy to use, provide practice with academic language, teach kids to organize their thinking, and teach crucial math concepts aligned to standards. – Miss B Teaches

Example Video

I’ve made several videos to show you how to complete a math sort. You can find them on Pinterest and Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Mariela Santillana (@mathtechconnections) on

View the Bundles

I have bundles available for grades 2-5. Click the links below to view 🙂

Mrs. Santillana

Mrs. Santillana

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4 thoughts on “How and why to use Math Sorts in Your Classroom (Free Download)”

    • I’d love to eventually have resources for grades K-6, but I am focusing on grades 3-5 at the moment.

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