Top It!
Lesson 1 of 8
Objective: SWBAT detemine which number is greater. SWBAT use the language "greater than" and "less than" correctly.
Setting Up the Learning
CCSS Context:
This lesson asks students to apply their understandings of base 10, which is one of the most important aspects of the first grade CCSS. Students develop a deep conceptual understanding of base 10 in first grade, which helps them in later grades as they learn complex operations, particularly regrouping. This lesson also asks students to compare numbers using academic vocabulary, such as "greater," which also supports their engagement with MP6.
Review:
We have learned about building numbers with tens and ones. Today we are going to use what we know about numbers to compare them. Compare means to see how the two numbers are different.
Connect:
We compare numbers all of the time: We say “How many points do they have? Who has MORE? Who has fewer points?” Comparing numbers helps us see who has more/less.
Objective:
Your thinking job is: Which number is greater? How do you know?
Opening Discussion
Give Academic Vocabulary Definitions (a key aspect of the CCSS shift!):
Today, we are going to be using the terms: Greater than, less than and equal to. Greater than means more. Less than means smaller. Equal to means the same amount.
Present Problem: Here is a story for you that will help you use these words: Greater than, less than and equal to.
Three friends are making snowballs.
Margo makes 37 snowballs.
Malik makes 45 snowballs.
Michael makes 73 snowballs.
Guiding Questions:

Partner talk: Who has the greatest number of snowballs? How are you sure?

I think that Margo has the greatest number of snowballs. Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?
Present Problem:
I still think Margo has the most. You are going to get 5 minutes to prove me right or wrong. I’ll provide you with cubes, paper and base ten blocks. You can use any of these tools to justify your answer.
First graders should have a lot of exposure to concrete models as mathematical tools. During this part of the lesson, students get to choose an appropriate tool (MP5) to construct a viable argument and critique my reasoning (MP3).
Student Work Time and Share:
After students “prove” who has the most, come back together and have 1 student shared how they figured it out.
Then write the sentence to provide students with language for later: Michael had the greatest number of snowballs. Margo had the least number of snowballs.
Game Rules and Practice
In partner groups, you are going to be playing a game called Place Value Top It. In Top It, you are always trying to find the number that is greater.
1. Put all the cards in the middle.
2. Both players pull a card.
3. The player who put down the card that has a greater number takes both cards. If you have equal cards, you put them both back in the stack.
4. You keep playing until you run out of cards, then you mix them all together and start again! The player with the most cards at the end wins.
I’ll play a round with students on the rug to practice rules.
Language stems to practice: _____ has the greatest card. _____ has the least card. OR Our cards are equal.
Independent Practice
Students play Place Value Top It! Each pair of students needs 2 copies of the cards.
The cards I used for this game are free from Carrie's Creations on Teacher's Pay Teachers. Click here to get a pdf copy!
Directions:
1. Put all the cards in the middle.
2. Both players pull a card.
3. The player who put down the card that has a greater number takes both cards. If you have equal cards, you put them both back in the stack.
4. You keep playing until you run out of cards, then you mix them all together and start again! The player with the most cards at the end wins.
Possible Extension: After students play the game, they can go through and write what number each card represents and play with the numbers instead of the place value representations.
See attached Playing the Game video to watch 2 children play the game! Notice that I make sure to reinforce the term "greater" when they used "more".
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Closing
Students come back together and play one round whole group.
Guiding Questions: Which number is the greatest? Which number is the least? How are you sure?
Students apply what they practiced in the game with the attached exit ticket (2 per page).
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