See You Later Alligator

A Making It Work Guest Blog

I have seen alligators, fish, movable Popsicle sticks, and more as ways to teach the math idea of greater than or less than to young children. Even though these are a good visual tools, to be honest, there are no alligators or even fish in mathematics.

Because many students still fail to understand this concept, here is a different approach which you might want to try. Since all kids know how to connect dots, 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.”

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Now ask, “Which number is smaller or represents the least amount? Yes, three is smaller. Let’s put one dot beside (in front of) that number.”

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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, it is usually read correctly.


This Everyday Learning guest post was written by Scipi, an educator from Kansas who currently teaches math at the local community college. Read more of her easy-to-use math ideas at gofigurewithscipi.blogspot.com.


How are you exploring elementary math concepts today?
Share your ideas below!










alessa

alessa

Alessa Giampaolo Keener, M.Ed. works with clients around the world in developing individualized learning plans that value the strengths and weaknesses of the whole child. While her focus has long been on the social-emotional needs of the gifted child, Alessa also works with governmental agencies in helping to meet the educational needs of children in foster care, as well as those involved in the juvenile justice system. Alessa lives in Maryland, where she homeschooled her kids into college. You can email Alessa at alessa.education (at) gmail.com

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