Partitioning is a vital skill that Junior Infants need to master before progressing on to combining groups. I always try to introduce new skills practically before getting the children to record their work in workbooks or on worksheets.
Using simple sorting rings (which I acquired from Michael Doherty), we made sets using practical materials. We then introduced a simple strip of card to partition the sets and made sure we used lots of language to explain what we were doing as we progressed.
Once the children had mastered partitioning sets it was easy for them to progress on to this simple activity. I had materials of 2 colours (I used clips but you could use crayons, pegs etc.) and a simple chart which matched the colour of the materials in each bag. Each child needed to put their hand into the bag and take out a handful of materials. Once they took out a handful they first needed to sort what they had, count each set and record the amounts in the right column. This could easily be extended to include a total column or extended further to include ‘+’ and ‘=’ sign to create a number sentence. It is a very simple activity but one that utilises so many maths skills and even more language skills!