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See You Later Alligator, Teaching Greater Than and Less Than

I originally posted this article back on May of 2011, but as I view products on Pinterest or on Teachers Pay Teachers, I feel a need to revisit it. I have seen alligators, fish, movable Popsicle sticks, etc. as ways to teach greater than or less than to children. Even though these may be good visual tools, to be honest, there are no alligators or even fish in mathematics.  Because many students still fail to understand which way the symbol is placed, (once in awhile I have a college student who is confused) here is a different method which you might wish to try. First of all, every child knows how to connect dots; so, let’s use that approach. 

Suppose we have two numbers 8 and 3. Ask the students, “Which number is greater?" Yes, 8 is greater. Let’s put two dots beside that number. 8 : Now ask, “Which number is smaller or represents the least amount?" You are right again. Three is smaller. Let’s put one dot beside (in front of) that number. Now have the students connect the dots.....

    
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It will work every time! When two numbers are equal, put two dots beside each number and connect the dots to make an equal sign. What makes this method a little different is that the students can visually see which number is greater because it has the most dots beside it; so when reading the number sentence, most of the time it is read correctly.

In a free handout entitled Number Tiles - Math Activities for the Primary Grades a greater than and less than activity is included which can be used over and over again. It's yours for free. Just click on the title to download your free copy.

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1 comment:

lisateachr said...

I always use this with my kids. I mean the alligator always wants more right? He's an alligator!