Categorizing Grid (classroom)

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Process of facilitating a Categorizing Grid active learning activity in a classroom

Time and Effort

Instructor Prep TimeLow
Student Activity TimeLow
Instructor Response TimeLow
Complexity of ActivityLow


Categorizing Grid involves the sorting of ideas into categories. Students receive a grid containing two or three categories along with a scrambled list of terms, images, equations, or other items that belong in those categories. Learners have a limited amount of time to sort the concepts into the correct categories.


Use it when you want...

  • To determine whether, how, and to what extent students understand what goes with what,
  • To have students reveal the implicit rules they are using to categorize information, or
  • To examine gaps and misperceptions in students’ understanding of content.

What students will need

  • No special requirements for this approach.


The following workflow is meant as guidance for how you can facilitate Categorizing Grid learning activity within a classroom.


  • Select two or three related categories for organizing the information to be presented in class.
  • Make a list of examples of items within each category. Review the list to make sure that all items belong to only one category and that all items are familiar to students.
  • Make a grid with the categories on the top row and items to be placed in categories on the side.
  • Determine when you will have students engage in this activity (beginning, middle, end, or outside of class).
  • Decide whether students will work alone, in pairs, or in small groups.


  • Set up students into groups.
  • Hand out and display the grid.
  • Explain the activity.
  • Leave time for students to ask questions about the activity and clarify items on the list.
  • Let students know how much time they have to complete the activity.
  • Collect the completed grids and let students know when and how you will use the results.


  • Collect grids.
  • Review grids and provide feedback/grades based on the quality of the grids.
  • Discuss the results of the activity at the next class meeting.

Accessibility and Room Considerations

Technical Documentation


Angelo, Thomas A., and K. Patricia Cross. Classroom Assessment Techniques: a Handbook for College Teacher/em>. Jossey-Bass, 1993. pp. 160-163.


See Also:

Keywords:categorizing grid, analysis, critical thinking, active learning, classroom   Doc ID:104107
Owner:Timmo D.Group:Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
Created:2020-07-17 11:08 CSTUpdated:2021-08-20 13:27 CST
Sites:Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
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