Grouping Containers

Counting Trays, Sorting Trays, Math Trays

UDL 5.2

Containers such as trays, cups, bowls and ice cube trays can be used to introduce or strengthen basic math skills such as alike/different, one-to-one correspondence, numeral recognition, sorting skills, pattern recognition, set recognition, fractions, etc. Students who benefit from visual models and kinesthetic learners may benefit from the use of grouping containers.

Implementation Tips

Visual Labels for Containers
When sorting items into containers based on traits (e.g. shape), for students do not read, label containers with images of the shapes they should contain.
Supporting Fine Motor
When sorting, for a student who does not have good fine motor skills, the teacher can pair the student with a student who does. The student can verbally direct the partner about where to place manipulatives.


Fractions using Ice Cube Trays
Teachers can use ice cube trays to present fractions. Given ice cube trays and a set of manipulatives such as marbles, the teacher can ask questions: "How many sections would be used if the tray is ½ filled up?" "How many sections would be used if it is ¼ of the way filled up?" "How many sections would be used if it is ¾ of the way filled up?" When the teacher asks a question, the students can place the marbles in the correct number of cups.
Envelopes as Containers
Students can be given envelopes with a numeral written on it and a supply of manipulatives, such as paperclips. Teachers can instruct the students to count the number of items indicated on the envelope and place them in the envelopes.
Skip Counting
Using counting beans and a muffin tin, students will be instructed to put two beans in each muffin cup. After filling all 12 muffin cups with two beans, the student will use skip counting to show that the 12 cups hold 24 beans.

Related Strategies