If you were to visit my office, I have 30 envelopes each containing the items that you see on the screen. Depending on how many students are in the room, I number them off in such a way that there are two 1’s, two 2’s, two 3’s, two 4’s, etc. in the room, and no one originally sitting side by side has the same number. The two people who have number 1 sit facing one another with the envelope of objects between them. The two people who have number 2 sit facing one another with the envelope of objects between them. The two people who have number 3 sit facing one another with the envelope of objects between them, etc. until the entire room is paired off with someone that they were not sitting by when they came in the room.
Silently, one member of the pair empties out the envelope and sorts the objects while the other person in the pair observes. When all is sorted, the observer guesses the sorting logic that was used, and the sorter acknowledges whether the observer is correct in their guess. Then the roles reverse—the sorter becomes the observer, and the observer becomes the sorter. Taking turns, each player should get to sort 3 times and observe each time, each time using a different sorting logic.
Let me give you an example of a couple of ways that I’ve seen this sorted. If I were to put the pencil, the nail, the screw, the coffee stirrer, the stick, the toothpick, and the Q-tip into a pile together, you might guess that I had sorted those objects by what qualities? If I put the feather, the leaf, the shell, the rock, and the stick together, you might guess that I sorted those objects by what characteristic?
As I said, I facilitated this activity with the group, and then we discussed the natural ability and tendency of humans to sort and our ability and tendency to see the similarities of things that have been sorted. I am going to leave this story for a time and come back to it in the end, so I can tell you what else is in the HubICL that you might be interested in for answering this question.
As a result of the pandemic this past year and so many things moving to on-line learning, this particular tool in the HubICL also includes a jamboard for you to use and copy, so you can partner off participants into breakout rooms, and they can manipulate pictures of the items, just as they would the real items.