Less Than- Exploring What It Means To Have Less

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Students will be able to compare groups of objects to decide which group has less.

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 introduces a key vocabulary term- less.

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 SMART Board and say to students, "This is our Problem of the Day for today.  This says ‘How are these two groups alike?  How are they different?  Which group has more?’"  I have several students share ideas.  If it is not mentioned, I ask students about the number of balls.  “Is the number of balls something that is the same or something that is different?”  Different  “Which group has more?”  The soccer balls  “How do you know?”

I tell students, "Today we will be looking at more 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 to decide which group has less."

I remind the students that yesterday we compared groups of color tiles.  Today we are going to use other objects.  I put four stuffed animals in the middle of the circle.  I place a book in front of three of the stuffed animalsI ask a student to come up and put the first book on the stuffed animal's lap.  I continue this with the two other books and stuffed animals.  I say, "The number of stuffed animals and the number of books is the not the same.  The group of stuffed animals has more.  We can also describe the group of books.  There are not enough books for each stuffed animal to have one.  There are less books.”   I add another stuffed animal to the group and take the books away.  I sit out pencil boxes.  I say, "I am going to pick someone with a quiet hand to come up and make a group of pencil boxes that has less than the group of stuffed animals."  I call on a student who is sitting quietly to come up and lay a pencil box in front of only some of the stuffed animals.

I continue this with the following examples:

3 stuffed animals and 1 folder

5 boys and 3 girls

4 students and 3 chairs

3 students and 2 stuffed animals See example here

I then tell students that we will be practicing this on a Less 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.  The students will be focusing on groups that are not equal and which groups have less.  I still continue to have students talk about groups that are equal and groups that have more in order to help them understand less.

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 SMART Board.  When all students have their pencils up, I say, "The directions on this paper say 'Draw lines to match the objects in the two groups.  Circle the group that has less.'"  I tell students to put their pencil point on the first picture of the toothbrush.  I model this on the SMART Board. I model how to draw a line connecting the toothbrush to the first picture of the toothpaste.  I continue this routine with the other toothbrush.  I then tell students that they can draw a line connecting each toothbrush to a toothpaste on their paper.  "Do these two groups have the same number of objects?  How do you know?"  No.  There is an extra toothbrush.  “Which group has less?”  The toothpaste.  “We need to circle the group of toothpastes since that is the group that has less.”  I circulate to make sure the students are connecting only one toothbrush to each toothpaste.  (Students may circle the group with more since that was what they did in the previous lesson.  Be sure that they are listening to the directions and circling the group that has less.)  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?  Which group has less?"  I continue this with the last question.  I write down the names of the students who were having trouble matching the objects in the two groups and those who did not correctly identify the group with less 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 call a student from each table to go and get the center tray for their table.  I circulate through the room to make sure that students are putting their papers in the tray and they are starting their center work.  By this point, students are completing a center for a second time, so they should know what to do.  This week's centers are:

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

I still quickly circulate to make sure students are engaged and do not have any questions about how to complete the centers.   I pull three groups during centers.  The first group is comprised of the students who were having trouble with the one to one correspondence and finding groups that have less.  I pull the students back to my small group table to do a reteach activity using counters and white boards.  I keep this group focused on one to one correspondence and ask some questions about which group has less.  I have the students put 3 red counters on their board and four yellow counters on their board.  I then have them use a marker to draw a line from each red counter to a yellow counter.  I then have then circle the group that has less.  I continue this with other amounts of counters.  I keep the number in each group 5 or less.  I keep the group for about 10 minutes.  The next two groups do a follow up activity that reviews identifying equal groups and identifying more and less when working with unequal groups. I use the counters and white boards with these groups as well. This is a treat for the students who have been doing well in the whole group lessons and have seen their classmates using these manipulatives in a small group setting.  The activity is the same as above except with a variety of questions and the inclusion of some groups of counters that are equal.  I then check in with each table to see how the centers are going.  I 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.  I also include something that needs to be better next time.  I review what we did during our whole group lesson.  "Today we compared groups of objects and decided which group has less.  How did we know which group had less?  We matched the objects in the groups.  The group that did not have enough was the group with less.  "Tomorrow, we are going to continue to compare groups and decide which group has less.