Finding Equal Groups

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Students will be able to compare groups of objects to decide if they are equal.

Big Idea

Comparing the number of objects in two groups using one to one correspondence is a foundational skill that students will build on as they begin to compare numbers. This lesson also introduce a key vocabulary term- equal.

Problem of the Day

5 minutes

I start the lesson with a problem of the day to help students review skills and concepts from prior lessons and develop their ability to problem solve.  I call the students up to the carpet. The students find their spots while saying this chant with me.

Criss cross, applesauce, hands in your lap, eyes on the teacher, you've got to show me that.

I project the Problem of the Day on the SMARTBoard and say to students, "This is our Problem of the Day for today.  This says 'Look at the objects.  How can we sort them?'  This is a lot like the animal problem that we had the other day."  I have several students give ideas orally before we move anything.  Several options should be discussed.  No sorting circles were provided because I want the students to be free to sort into more than two groups if necessary.  The objects can be moved around the screen several times to show different ways to sort.

If you don't have a SMARTBoard, you can use the pdf copy of the slides in a variety of ways to reproduce this activity.

I tell students, "Today we will be looking at groups of objects and comparing how many are in each group."

Presentation of Lesson

25 minutes

I have students move into a circle and remind them to sit with their bottoms on the hard floor so that there is room for everyone.  I also remind students that when we are doing an activity in the circle, they need to keep their hands to themselves and stay seated so that everyone can see and pay attention.

"Today we are going to compare two groups but instead of looking at their color, shape or size, we are going to be looking at how many objects are in each group."

I put four stuffed animals in the middle of the circle.  I place a book in front of each stuffed animalI ask a student to come up and put the first book on a stuffed animal's lap.  I continue this with the three other books and stuffed animals.  I say, "The number of stuffed animals and the number of books are the same.  The two groups are equal.  The word equal means they have the same number."  I add another stuffed animal to the group and take the books away.  I sit out a cup of pencils.  I say, "I am going to pick someone with a quiet hand to come up and make a group of pencils that has the same number as the group of stuffed animals."  I call on a student who is sitting quietly to come up and lay a pencil in front of each stuffed animal. 

I continue this with the following examples:

3 stuffed animals and 3 cups

2 boys and 2 girls

5 students and 5 chairs

4 students and 4 books

I then tell students that we will be practicing this on a Same Number worksheet.  During the activity students practiced one to one correspondence by pairing concrete items.  On the worksheet, they will practice this same skill by drawing lines to connect the objects in the two groups.  One to one correspondence helps students identify groups that have more, less or the same number.  

I show students the paper and say, "We will be doing this paper together.  When you get to your seats, you need to get out your pencil and put your name on your paper.  When your name is on your paper hold your pencil in the air, that will let me know that you are ready to start."  I like to have students hold up their pencils or put their hands on their heads when they are finished with a task.  It makes it easy for me to see who is ready and also keeps the students from writing all over their papers while they wait for other students to finish.  Prior to the lesson, I use a highlighter to write student names on papers for students who are unable to write their name.

I hand each student a paper and they walk back to their seats.  While the students are writing their names, I turn on the projector and document camera and display the worksheet on the SMARTBoard.  When all students have their pencils up, I say, "The directions on this paper say 'These groups have the same number of objects.  The groups are equal.  Draw lines to match the objects in each group.'"  I tell students to put their pencil point on the first picture of the dog.  I model this on the SMARTBoard. I model how to draw a line connecting the dog to the first picture of a bone.  I continue this routine with the other two dogs and bones.  I then tell students that they can draw a line connecting each dog to a bone on their paper.  "Do these two groups have the same number of objects?  How do you know?"  I circulate to make sure the students are connecting only one dog to one bone.  I tell the students to complete number two by drawing a line to connect each spoon to a bowl.  I call up a student who correctly matched the spoons and bowls on their paper to connect the spoons and bowls on the board.  When the student is finished, I ask, "Are these two groups equal?  How do you know?"  I continue this with the last question.  I write down the names of the students who are having trouble matching the objects in the two groups to pull during centers.  When the paper is finished, I have students put their pencils away, put their paper in the paper tray and put their heads down.


20 minutes

I remind students that yesterday we learned about math centers.  Today we will be working on our centers again.  I review the rules for centers.  We need to share the materials, work quietly, and keep the materials in the tray until they are being used.  I call up one student from each table to come back and get their center.  This week's centers are:

Sorting Lakeshore Kid Counters in Sorting Circles.docx
Sorting Fruit Loops in Sorting Boxes.docx
Sorting Beans in Cups
Sorting Apples in Sorting Baskets (from
SMART Board- Lakeshore Sorting Adventures Interactive Activities

I circulate through the room to make sure that all of the centers are being done correctly.  When I feel that the students are engaged and completing the centers correctly, I pull a group of students who were having trouble with the one to one correspondence on their worksheets.  I pull the students back to my small group table to do a reteach activity using white boards, color tiles and wiki sticks.  See the activity here.  I only keep the group for about 10 minutes.  I then check in with each table to see how the centers are going.  When there is five minutes left, I count down from 5 and say "Freeze."  When I say this, all students stop what they are doing, put their hands on their heads and look at me.  This is a procedure that we use throughout the day.  I say to students, "You have about five minutes left.  Remember when the clean up song comes on, you need to quietly put all of your materials back in your tray and return it to the math center table.  It needs to be on top of your table number.  If you are sorting apples, you can put your paper on the drying rack to dry."  I let the students work for five more minutes and then turn on Tidy Up by Dr. Jean.  Students clean up and return to their seats.


5 minutes

I close this lesson by inviting students back up to the carpet.  I turn on the projector and document camera and let one of the students who worked with me at the small group table share his work on the screen.  The students like getting to "be the teacher" and other students like seeing their classmates' work being projected on the SMART Board.  This also gives a student who was struggling during the original activity time to feel successful in front of the class.  I mention positive things that I noticed during centers.  Today, I mentioned that I liked how students who finished their sorting activity cleared their boards and completed the activity again.  I also include something that needs to be improved next time.  Today, I mentioned that when I am at the small group table, students that need help need to raise their hands and wait for me to finish with the group I am working with.  I review what we did during our whole group lesson.  "Today we compared groups to see if they were equal.  How did we know that the groups were equal?"  By matching the objects in the groups to see if they had the same number.  "Tomorrow, we are going to continue to work on comparing groups and deciding if the two groups are equal."