Grade: Elementary
Subject: Mathematics

#2035. Greater Than-Less Than

Mathematics, level: Elementary
Posted Tue Nov 28 06:24:22 PST 2000 by Alice Chrostowski (
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA, USA
Materials Required: counter chips
Activity Time: 30-45 minutes
Concepts Taught: Greater Than and Less Than

Greater Than - Less Than

Students should be able to tell if a number is greater than or less than another number. This concept is used in every day life and would serve as a great skill to them.
Following a class on greater than and less than, the students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of the greater number by writing the symbol associated with the number with 90% accuracy.
Lesson Activities
1. Motivate the students, by choosing a group to come to the front of the room. They will be separated into two uneven groups. "How many are in each group?"
They will then count the groups. "Which group has more students in it?" Discuss that one group is greater than the other group.
2. Next give all the students a bag of counter chips. Have them pair up with the person beside them. Each person will set out any amount of chips they would like,
without looking at the other person. They will then compare their counter chips. "Which pile has more?" If the piles are even, have one student add or
subtract from their pile.
3. Draw the Greater Than and Less Than symbols on the board. Have the students imagine that each is a mouth, pointing in a different direction. "If you were
hungry, would you choose a plate with a lot of food on it or with little food on it? The symbol feels the same way. It wants to eat the bigger amount. So if you
have 10 chips in one pile and 8 chips in the other pile,
the mouth would open to the pile of 10 chips." While explaining this, you will draw it out on the board. You will then draw more chips on the board and have
volunteers come up and draw the symbols for the rest of the class.
4. The students will then take out a piece of paper. On partner will draw the Greater Than symbol while the other draws the Less Than symbol.
They will set out two piles of chips and put the symbols between the piles to show which is greater and which is less. Make sure they are getting the concept
by walking around and checking their work.
5. Symbolic numbers will follow. Write two single-digit numbers on the board. Have one of the students come up and draw the correct symbol. Have him or her
explain why they used that symbol. Do a few more like this, and then increase difficulty by using double-digit numbers.
6. To evaluate on an individual basis, give the students a short quiz. This can be used for a grade or just an activity.