Greater Than Less Than

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by msrosie, Aug 31, 2015.

  1. msrosie

    msrosie Rookie

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    Aug 31, 2015

    My kinders are really struggling with the concept of greater than and less than.
    I've used physical objects to demonstrate. I've done one-to-one correspondence and a combination of the two, but there are still some that don't understand.
    Any suggestions for different ways to teach it?
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Aug 31, 2015

    What about using a balance scale?
     
  4. janis

    janis Companion

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    Really make it real, something like this. Put 5 M&Ms in one pile and 2 in another and simply ask them, "Which pile of M&Ms do you want?".

    If they can figure out which pile has more M&Ms, they can eat them. If not, well...

    :help:
     
  5. mkbren88

    mkbren88 Cohort

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    Aug 31, 2015

    Before they can really understand greater than and less than, they need to fully understand what the numbers you are using mean. Build up their number sense, and use math talk yourself when discussing groups and how many there are, which one has more/less, etc.. If you are referring to using symbols, that's going to take a little bit longer. I've used YouTube videos and brain pop to give my students a better understanding.
     
  6. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Sep 1, 2015

    I thought the above posts were quite clever! I've also had success (in upper elementary) teaching math concepts with outside games. For your Kindergarteners, perhaps a game where students find themselves in 2 groups, and determine which group is greater, less than, or if both groups are equal would be helpful.

    One that readily comes to mind is to play "Freeze". The students wander around an area until the teacher calls out, "Freeze." (This could be done in a large circle or box drawn on blacktop). Each student immediately becomes motionless. The teacher could then take a long rope and divide the students into 2 groups. After discussing the in/equality of the groups, a small whiteboard could be used to write the in/equation in arithmetic symbols.
     
  7. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sep 1, 2015

    My elementary school teacher turned those signs into hungry alligators, whose mouths would always be open to the bigger food supply. The fact that I still remember this almost 40 years later might mean it stuck.
     
  8. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Try emphasizing how numbers are symbols--and I would try to stick to that terminology. That might help bridge the gap between the numbers and the objects and give you a good base for the greater/lesser.
     
  9. msrosie

    msrosie Rookie

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    Thank you so much for the suggestions!

    Right now, we're just working with objects, not really the numbers, so I'm trying out the pan balance to see how that helps their understanding.
     
  10. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Sep 3, 2015

    Yeah, the numbers as symbols is a higher level. You probably should work on related concepts such as more/less, higher/lower, above/below.
     
  11. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Ha... I remember that way too. Lol!!!
     
  12. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I'm going to respectfully disagree. It's definitely lower level. It's very good to start with objects, but kindergarteners are going to have a lot of trouble switching suddenly from 10 concrete jelly beans to a random number 10 written on the board. When the teacher shifts from the concrete, explicitly explaining that the 10 stands for the 10 jelly beans is a great bridge. Heck, I've heard of kinder and first grade teachers saying the 10 on the board is just marker strikes. Makes the kids laugh and lets them know what the 10 is symbolizing.

    If the kids are struggling with just the objects, keep to that for a while. I like the idea of the scale and simply asking which pile of candy they prefer--followed by a boosting "See? Your brain knows!"
     
  13. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Sep 3, 2015

    I would use M&Ms. They will quickly see that they want the "More than" pile of M&Ms.
     
  14. msrosie

    msrosie Rookie

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    Sep 3, 2015

    I would love to be able to use M&Ms, because I agree, I think they'd easily see more than/less than that way. But we're a CATCH school, so we can't have junk food. All fruits and veggies for us.
     

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