North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Cognitive Development (CD)

Subdomain: Mathematical Thinking and Expression

Goal: Children compare, sort, group, organize and measure objects and create patterns in their everyday environment.

Skill Progression: Comparing and Ordering

Age: 36-42 Months

Click here to go to all skills for ages 36-42 Months.

Compares pictures, colors, shapes to do simple puzzles

Situations for Observation of Skill

Have a set of blocks of different shapes and colors along with some small vehicles in another smaller container. If done in a classroom, the adult can play with a small group of children each day in this activity Note: This activity includes comparing and ordering, measuring, patterning, and classifying. They overlap, so are merged into one activity for all skills.

Elicitation Strategy

Dump out the blocks and set out the small vehicles. Suggest that the child first put them in piles of ones that are alike. Watch her and see what she does with the blocks spontaneously. How does she group them, combine them, etc. The adult can comment and ask questions. “Tell me about what you’re making and the pieces you chose.” After seeing what the child does, the adult can join the play to elicit additional skills. For example, “Let’s find the longest ones first and build a road for these cars. We could use the smallest ones to build stop signs. What do you think?”

Behavior Observed

The child uses the words largest / smallest correctly with objects.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Block building is a common everyday occurrence in the classroom, so early childhood educators have many opportunities to observe the child’s skills. A more structured interaction may be used when the adult hasn’t seen specific skills or wants to model or encourage higher level thinking. Facilitation of block play can lead to greater understanding of comparisons and size ordering.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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