Video segment about me, by the school district

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Comparing Numbers and Amounts

"Five Creatures" by Emily Jenkins

I recently did a math lesson for my principal to observe, based on the following three goals.

1. The students will compare two numbers using sets and 1:1 correspondence, and be able to explain and express the relationship verbally, through pictures, and in writing.
2. The students will analyze a number line to find out if written numerals are in correct sequential order.
3. The students will use deductive reasoning as they problem-solve scenarios in books related to "more" and "less".

The first two goals were specifically math content goals.  The third one was a literature goal integrating the math concept.

During language arts, we read the book Five Creatures by Emily Jenkins.  This was a great book for several reasons.  It lent itself really well to using the vocabulary words "more" and "fewer".  For example, on one page it said that there were three humans and two cats.  So I would ask the students "Were there more humans or more cats?"  On another page, it said four of them liked fish and one did not, so I asked "Did fewer of the creatures like fish, or more?"

I started off the math lesson by having the children look at the Visualizer, which had number lines that were each incorrect in some way.  The students had to turn-and-talk and figure out what was wrong with the number line, and then we discussed their ideas.  This worked really well.  Here are the number lines that I used.

Number Lines Missing

One of the next things we did was to use this "Number of the Day" poster to practice writing our numerals:

"Number of the Day" poster
We all wrote the numbers with dry erase markers on individual whiteboards as the "Number of the Day" student wrote them on the poster.  That way, the children had a model to go by.

Since Common Core focuses much more on numbers, I think it's important that my students know how to identify numerals, count, match quantities, and understand how amounts look on ten frames.  Our county's module assessments also incorporate ten frames, so I made these books to help the children have a frame of reference so that when they saw the question on the test, they wouldn't be confused.

My Ten Frame Book 2

My Ten Frame Book 3

For differentiation purposes, I made two levels of books.  I used the first book with my lower students who still need to match numerals with amounts.  The second book was used with my students who do understand matching numerals with amounts and are now ready to compare numbers.

We also played a game with large flip-circles (yellow and red) on a giant ten frame mat.

Single Ten Frame
Double Ten Frame

I used the back of a Twister mat to make the ten frames sturdy and durable enough for the children to crawl on.  This game can be played in several different ways, depending on the level of your students.  I had children place flip-circles on the ten frame with some red-face-up and some yellow-face-up.  Then they had to tell me which color had more, which color had less, and how they knew that.  For a variation, we played "Are there more squares empty or are there more squares filled?"  That was a little tougher.  We've also started doing addition with problems such as "If you have five red flip-circles and you want ten, how many yellow flip-circles have to go on the board?"  This game is mostly for my high group, which is composed of eight kindergarten kids.

I found a real treasure at Really Good Stuff.  They're ten-frame dry-erase boards that are magnetic, and you can purchase flip-circles that are also magnetic.  I think these are fab for any pre-k, k, or 1st grade classroom.

Magnetic Ten Frame Boards from Really Good Stuff
Please let me know what you are doing to compare numbers.  I'd love to hear what you think of these ideas. Also if you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in a comment.


  1. Hi,
    Loved your post. Five Creatures is one of my favorites. Great idea for the tens frames books. I will use them in my classroom. Having taught 2nd grade for 5 years, I really want my class to be solid with the tens frames.

    Have a great week!

  2. I LOVE the number of the day poster and the ten frame book! Thanks so much. What a wonderful blog...I love to come to see what you are up to!!!!
    Christina @ Sea Bear's Kindergarten

    1. Thank you, Christina! That is high praise, coming from you.