Lesson plan

8. Comparing numbers using less than, greater than, and equal to symbols (C)

teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Content.4.NBT.A.2 http://corestandards.org/Math/Content/4/NBT/A/2
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Practice.MP6 http://corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP6
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Lesson objective: Extend understanding of comparing numbers using symbols to indicate comparison betwen numbers (greater than, less than, and equal to).

Students bring prior knowledge of comparing numbers using place value to the hundreds from grade 3 (3.NBT.A.1). This prior knowledge is extended to larger numbers as students compare the value of numbers according to place value. A conceptual challenge students may encounter is comparing more than two numbers at a time.  

The concept is developed through work with a place value chart.  We compare the value of each number by comparing one place value at a time, starting with the largest values.

This work helps students deepen their understanding of numbers because students are using place value to identify the relative value of different numbers.  

Students engage in Mathematical Practice 6 (attend to precision).  As students compare numbers, they should specify the value of the numbers and the quantity which those numbers represent. They should also state the meaning of the symbols they choose. For instance, less than, greater than, or equal to.


Key vocabulary:

  • equal
  • greater than
  • greatest
  • less than

Special materials needed:

  • index cards to write numbers
  • paper
  • pencil