Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, e.g., by using matching and counting strategies.


Enduring UnderstandingScreen shot 2013-07-12 at 11.29.05 AM.png

Counting is useful. It assigns a number name to an object or set of objects.

Essential Questions

What does a number mean?
How many are there?


greater than, less than, equal

About the Math

As children develop meaning for numerals, they also compare these numerals to the quantities represented and their number words. The modeling numbers with manipulatives such as dot cards and five- and ten-frames become tools for such comparisons. Children can look for similarities and differences in these different representations of numbers. They begin to “see” the relationship of one more, one less, two more and two less, thus landing on the concept that successive numbers name quantities where one is larger. In order to encourage this idea, children need discussion and reflection of pairs of numbers from 1 to 10. Activities that utilize anchors of 5 and 10 are helpful in securing understanding of the relationships between numbers. This flexibility with numbers will greatly impact children’s ability to break numbers into parts.

Children demonstrate their understanding of the meaning of numbers when they can justify why their answer represents a quantity just counted. This justification could merely be the expression that the number said is the total because it was just counted, or a “proof” by demonstrating a one to-one match, by counting again or other similar means (concretely or pictorially) that makes sense. An ultimate level of understanding is reached when children can compare two numbers from 1 to10 represented as written numerals without counting.

Students need to explain their reasoning when they determine whether a number is greater than, less than, or equal to another number. Teachers need to ask probing questions such as “How do you know?” to elicit their thinking. For students, these comparisons increase in difficulty, from greater than to less than to equal. It is easier for students to identify differences than to find similarities.

Rich Tasks for Multiple Means of Engagement, Expression, and Representation (UDL)

Rich Problem:

  • Make Sets of More/Less/Same (Van de Walle, K-3, p 38): At a workstation or table, provide about 8 dot cards (link to "dot cards") with sets of 4-12 objects, sets of small counters or blocks, and some word cards labeled More/Less/Same. Next to each card have students make three collections of counters: a set that is more, one that is less, and one that is the same. The appropriate labes are placed on the sets. (scan picture from page 38)
  • Activity 2.2 (pg. 38)
  • Blackline Masters


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Comparing Sets
Compare Numbers
Comparing Quantities
Domino Parking Lot
Spill and Compare

Online Resources

Greater Than/Less Than

Print Resources:

  • Lesson 4, Number Shapes (pg. 22)
  • Lesson 5, Estimate and Count (pg. 24)
  • Lesson 6, Comparing Groups (pg. 26)
  • Lesson 7, Equal Groups (pg. 28)
  • Lesson 8, More and Fewer (pg. 30)
  • Lesson 21, More Than, Less Than, Same As (pg. 56)
  • More or Less for Lunch (pg. 52-54)
  • Princess Ring (pg. 57-58)
  • Clover Patch (pg. 90-92)
  • Compare Bear (pg. 120-121)
From Book 1:
  • Activity 3-1 Is it More/Less? (pg. 146)
  • Activity 3-4 Spin and Peek (pg. 150)
  • Activity 3-14 Two-Color Grab-Bags (pg. 163)

Investigations Lessons that Support the Standard


Common Core Alignment


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