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# Meaningful Ways To Teach Attributes in Kindergarten

Updated: Sep 4

Teaching attributes can be deceptively easy at first glance, but there are some tricks to ensuring you get the most out of your attributes lesson.

What are attributes?

An attribute is a term used in maths teachings that refers to the properties of a shape or an object. For example, shape, colour or size.

How do you teach attributes?

Pierre van Hiele (1986) defines three stages of teaching attributes: visual, descriptive, and analytic. You can use these as a guide for students to progress through the various stages of learning about attributes.

Visual Stage

In the visual stage, students learn to recognise shapes based on real-world objects, such as cotton reels and buttons. The reels are round, big and cylindrical. The green and pink buttons are round and small.

Here, students can sort everyday objects by colour alone.

It's essential to use as many hands-on, concrete resources as possible and progress to printable activities later to record student learning when teaching attributes to kindergarten students.

Descriptive Stage

In the descriptive stage, students can give verbal or written statements about the shape. For example, they can explain why they have sorted based on the number of sides.

Or how large or small an item is...

Use lots of visual prompts and modelling before undertaking any activity like this.

Analytic Stage

The final stage encourages students to compare similar objects but to identify how they are the same or different in some way. A great idea is to place similar objects (such as the picture below, which shows yellow fruit) but with some identifiable differences.

You will know a student is at the third stage when they can tell you these objects are similar because they are all fruits and yellow, but one is different because they are lemons, not bananas and oval-shaped, whereas the bananas are long and curved.

Never tell a student there is 'only one correct answer' because there could be many correct answers, but instead, allow the student to provide an explanation and justification for their statement. This nicely leads to 'evidenced-based' writing in many subjects as students progress through their school years.

Here I have used a little eraser to let the student show which one they believe is different. You would follow that by discussing why this one differs from the other objects.

You can use everyday objects for sorting, such as these colourful erasers.

Alternatively, if you are teaching remotely or students are learning from home, you can give students a print-and-cut method to allow them to demonstrate what they know.

You can find the printables used in this blog post in the Attributes Pack here.

If you are a subscriber you can download a sample from this pack here.

If you're not a subscriber yet you can join here plus get \$5 off your first purchase!