Beacon Lesson Plan Library

What's the Texture

Lore Davis
Alachua County Schools


This is a small group activity in which students sort, classify, and write about how they sort a variety of shells.


The student identifies simple patterns of sounds, physical movements, and concrete objects.

The student knows that objects have many different observable properties:-color-shapes (circle, triangle, square)-forms (flexible, stiff, straight, and curved)-textures (rough, smooth, hard, soft)-sizes and weights (big, little, large, small, heavy, light, wide, thin, long, short)-positions and speeds (over, under, in, out, above, below, left, right, fast, slow)


-6 bowls containing 20 shells of a variety of textures, colors, kinds
-6 sorting trays
-The book, [Is It Rough? Is It Smooth? Is It Shiny?]Hoban, Tana. New York: Greenwillow, 1984.


1. Obtain 6 bowls containing 20 shells of a variety of textures, colors, kinds
2. Locate 6 sorting trays.
3. Obtain the book, [Is It Rough? Is It Smooth? Is It Shiny?]
Hoban, Tana. New York: Greenwillow, 1984.


1. Ask students how many of them have been to the beach. Ask them if they've found shells and brought them back home. Have students describe the characteristics of the shells (rough, smooth, shiny, small, large, slimy). Read the book [Is It Rough? Is It Smooth? Is It Shiny?]to a small group of students.

2. After reading the book, tell students that today they will be looking at a variety of shells and sorting or grouping them in a variety of ways.

3. Pour a bowl of shells out on the table. Ask students to look at the shells and think of ways the shells could be sorted or grouped. Give students a minute to think of ways the shells could be sorted.

4. Ask one student to tell you one way the shells could be sorted. Have the student start the sort. (Example: The student might say to sort by size. That student might start the sort by placing all of the small shells in one section of the sorting tray. The next student might sort all of the medium shells in another section of the tray and another student might sort all of the large shells in another section of the tray. Have students sort until all of the shells have been sorted. Tell students that they have just sorted by size.

5. Ask students for another way to sort. Students might say to sort by texture, kind, color, etc. Follow the same procedures as earlier.

6. Write about how the students sorted the last group of vehicles on construction paper. Do this by drawing the number of shells in each group and writing about how each group was sorted (Example: I sorted my shells by size). This could be done on one piece of paper, which has been divided into sections or it could be done on separate pieces of paper.

7. Tell students that they will now sort or group their own bowl of shells. Give each student a bowl of 20 shells and a sorting tray to use in sorting their shells. Students will work independently to sort the shells. Observe, monitor and provide feedback as students sort their shells. Give suggestions or ask other students to give suggestions of other ways to sort, if a child can't think of alternative ways to sort their shells. Have students demonstrate their understanding by explaining how they sorted their shells.

8. Have students use pieces of construction paper to write about one way they sorted their shells. Most kindergarteners will use pictures as their writing and will tell you about the way they classified. Some might label their pictures with one or two letters. Most will not be able to write a sentence. You may write as the student dictates.

9. The students will return to the small group to share the writing, explaining one way he/she sorted and classified the shells after each student has finished the activity.


The student demonstrates his/her knowledge of sorting and classifying by using at least 3 characteristics (kind, shape, color, texture, size) to sort shells.
The student dictates or writes with pictures or words about how he/she sorts and classifies shells. Teacher would use a cheklist to assess students ability to sort materials and manage information.


1. Science/math - have students sort/classify fish counters.
2. Science/Language - Read books about ocean life and land life. Have students sort/classify a variety of things that live in the ocean or on land.
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.