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Lesson Plan

2. Counting bead strings that are less than (C)

teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.C.6
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Practice.MP2
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Lesson objective: Understand and further develop what the compare words less than and equal to mean by making bead strings with counters that are less than a given number. Extend understanding that more than one quantity can be less than a specific amount. Understanding of comparison will also be extended as students record the bead strings they are comparing and tell how many on each string. 

Students bring prior knowledge of counting out a quantity and telling how many  from K.CC.4. In this standard students understand the relationship between numbers and quantities and connect counting to cardinality. They understand the number of objects is the same regardless of their arrangement or the order in which they were counted.  This prior knowledge is extended to comparing groups of objects that have been counted.  A conceptual challenge students may encounter is fully understanding the meaning of the compare words and using them to describe the work they are doing.  Less and less than are not  familiar and will require modeling with math tools while using the appropriate compare language. 

The concept of less than and equal to is developed through work with using counters and focusing on the lining up as as strategies to identify which group is less than.

This work helps students deepen their understanding of equivalence because students are making a connection between numbers and the quantities they represent and considering what is the same or different about them using comparison.  This lesson sets the foundation for understanding what equivalence and less than means.  Students engage in Mathematical Practice 2 (Reason abstractly and quantitatively) as they practice working with concrete objects and the numerals they represent. Students will practice using compare language words, greater than, less than and equal to when creating bead strings that are less than a given quantity.  Students will use counting, matching and visually looking as strategies to help them compare.

  • Model bead strings that are less than by using counters. Line up the counters to the amount being compared to. 
  • Students can also count to identify if a bead string is less than. 
  • Students may match up the counters, taking away one counter from each string until a counters are left on one string only 
  • Notice how the students solve this task. They many use trial and error and count each time to determine if they have less .

Key vocabulary:

  • compare
  • equal, equal to
  • greater, greater than
  • less, less than
  • more, more than
  • same

Special materials needed:

  • counters or connecting cubes
  • bead string recording sheet


Related content

Appears in

Comparing numbers

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