This problem is about being able to sort everyday objects into categories. The students need to think of what features the clothes have in common and what makes them different. They need to sort the clothes into three sets so that all three drawers have something in them. The students need to decide on the categories themselves and be able to explain why each piece of clothing does or does not belong in it. Key words that are used here are: same, different, set or groups.
Being able to find common properties of objects and being able to describe these properties, are important skills in mathematics and statistics. They are two themes that underpin many of the things that are taught in school.
I have socks, shorts, singlets, trousers, jumpers, track pants, t-shirts, gloves, scarves, pants and a jacket. But I only have 3 drawers to keep them in.
How can I decide what group of clothes to keep in each drawer?
How many different ways could I decide on?
Change the number of drawers, or add a cupboard.
Let the students think which drawer the clothes they are wearing would fit into.
Other Contexts for the Problem
Sorting other every day objects like: cutlery, linen, toys, games, tools, etc.
Students need to be allowed to decide on their own categories. They must be able to give the reasons why each piece of clothing either belongs or doesn’t belong in the drawer.
Some categories of clothes that are put into different drawers might be:
Winter clothes Underwear Long/Short sleeves
Summer clothes Bottoms Tops
Printed from https://nzmaths.co.nz/resource/not-enough-drawers at 4:56pm on the 20th January 2021