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Grade: Elementary
Subject: Mathematics

#3532. Greater than Less Than

Mathematics, level: Elementary
Posted Mon Jan 2 17:40:50 PST 2006 by Kathy Covert (
Royal Oaks Elementary, Duarte, CA,USA
Materials Required: Alligator Handmitt
Activity Time: 45 minutes
Concepts Taught: Comparison of Numbers

Using a stuffed alligator or green oven mitt, tell the students about your friend Mr. Alligator who loves to eat. The show them two stacks of Pringles potato chips (one much larger than the other). Ask them which stack they think Mr. Alligator would choose. After they select the stack, count out the number of chips orally to see which stack contained the largest number.

The objective of this lesson is to familiarize the students with the less than and greater than symbols. The objective also focuses on being able to identify numbers to 100 that are greater or less than another number.

Discuss the number line and how the farther the number is from 0, the larger the number will be. Pass out cards with numbers on them to each student. Call on two students to come forward and stand facing the classroom. Have the rest of the class determine which number is greater. As you determine the larger number, show the alligator pointing his mouth to the bigger number.

Once the students are comfortable with determining the larger or smaller of two numbers, talk to them about the special signs that can show which number is greater. Then explain that Mr. Alligator can help remember how to draw these signs because he always is hungry and wanting to eat the bigger number.

MODELING: Using the white board have a selection of 5 or 6 number problems that need to have the symbols correctly placed in their statement (e.g. 5 6). Select random students to give you the correct answer and show them how you would write that statement on the board. For our example, I would write in a bright color < because Mr. Alligator wants the most he can get so he wants 6 instead of 5.

Have another large white board sheet with numbers on them (e.g. 89 105). This time have the students come up and show the correct sign and explain to the class why they chose that sign. This can be done individually, in pairs or table groups depending on time.

Have the students work in pairs with color cards to show which number is greater. Have them discuss with each other why they chose that symbol.

Have the students complete a worksheet that gives them the opportunity to independently show their understanding for the use of the greater than or less than symbols as well as the understanding of number sense from 1 -100.

Use a stuffed alligator or oven mitt to represent Mr. Alligator. Use chips, pretzels or something the students can identify with for the anticipatory set. Use bright colored markers for the white boards to identify differences between the symbols. Use laminated number cards for the students to bring to the front of the class for understanding which number is larger.

The authentic assessment for the students would be seen as they come to the white board to complete their answers and explain to the class their reasoning. It can also be seen through working with pairs with number cards and lastly, through the worksheet during independent practice time.