This page provides lesson ideas for BrainPOP’s Sortify game. The ideas are adaptable for any subject area and any grade level (K-12.) Learn how the Sortify game can be used as a playful assessment tool or practice activity that requires students to categorize topic-specific tiles into the bins where they belong.
- Sort topic-related vocabulary terms into self-selected categories.
- Explain the relationship of terms between categories and within categories.
Preparation:Sortify is designed to be used as a playful assessment. It’s an open-ended tool that is flexible enough to work for all grade levels (K-12). The goal of Sortify is to clear the whole board in as few rounds as possible. Students can also attempt to earn points, and try to beat their own score.
The first step in game play is to label your bins. The point value of each label is listed--the harder bin labels are worth more points. You then click the “play” button and begin dragging and dropping tiles into the bins. Some bins are “morph bins” that require the player to change the text in each tile before dropping it into the bin. If there are too few tiles belonging to a particular bin, use the “swap bins” button on the top right to pick a different label and try to rack up more points.
When all tiles are sorted, click on a bin to see the tiles inside it. Check your answers, and when you’re sure they’re right, hit the “submit bin” button that appears. You will instantly get feedback on which answers were correct! Click the “continue” button, and if you had any incorrect responses, you’ll see those tiles returned to the main area to be re-sorted. Continue this process of checking and submitting each bin until all tiles have been correctly categorized. If you think you can’t complete any more sorts even though you have some tiles and bins left, click the “out of sorts” button that appears and then “ok” to see your final score. You can restart the game from that screen and get a fresh start with the same tiles.
- There are many ways you can incorporate the Sortify game into your instruction:
- Introduce Sortify for the first time by allowing students to explore the game and draw their own conclusions about how it works. The game walks students through the process of getting started, so allow students to work independently or with a partner to determine the goal of the game and basics of game play. If necessary, point out that students can replace a bin’s label by dragging another label on top, and make sure students understand that they have to click inside a bin to be able to submit it. After 5-10 minutes of game play, ask students to share their strategies for clearing the board in the fewest amount of rounds possible. Students may mention the point values assigned to various labels, and you can encourage the class to share strategies for earning more points. View the Sortify Tips and Tricks [link to module] for discussion question ideas.
- Play Sortify as part of your whole group or small group instruction. Sortify can be a fantastic teaching tool: simply project the game on your interactive whiteboard, and model your thinking for students as you play the game. Have student volunteers share their ideas and discuss where they think the tiles belong and why.
- Use Sortify prior to your lesson to build and assess background knowledge. Pair students up to play so they can talk about their choices and strategies. Observe your students as they play in order to identify misconceptions and other important teaching points to follow up on later.
- Try using Sortify as an assessment tool. You can substitute the Sortify game for the movie topic quiz. Or use the quiz as a pre-assessment to see what students already know, and allow students to play the Sortify game after instruction to see what they’ve learned.
- Have students play Sortify multiple times to try to beat their personal best score. Draw students’ attention to the point values on each label, and challenge them to earn as many points as possible. They can keep a record of their attempts [maybe we could create a graphic organizer for this where they can track or maybe even graph their progress over time?] and see what their highest score could be.
- Incorporate Sortify as a cooperative learning activity. For assessment purposes, Sortify works best as an independent learning tool, but it’s also useful as a way to encourage students to talk about their thinking. View the Sortify Tips and Tricks teaching strategies [link to module] for discussion question ideas.
- Have students evaluate the categorization system. Encourage students to think critically about the bin label choices as well as the answers that are deemed correct in the game. Are there any sorts they disagree with? Have students explain their reasoning and find two credible sources to back up their claims, then present their research to the class.
- Challenge students to create their own Sortify game. Provide the topic, and allow students to create a paper prototype of the game using their own tiles and labels. It can be quite challenging to ensure that the tiles overlap into various categories, so allow plenty of time for students to plan as well as test out their game to make sure it works. After the game is ready, they can trade with classmates and practice playing.