More, Less or Equal? Comparing Numbers 0 to 5

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Students will be able to compare groups and numerals of five or fewer.

Big Idea

In this lesson, students are using their new knowledge of the numbers 0 to 5 to make comparisons to determine more, less, or the same.

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.  Look at the apples.  This says 'Count the butterflies.  Draw a picture with more than 3 butterflies.'"  I say, "This problem has two parts.  What is the first thing it asks us to do?" (Count the butterflies.)  I have a student come up with a pointer and count the butterflies.  "Listen to the direction again.  'Count the butterflies.  Draw a picture with more than 3 butterflies.'  What do we need to do next?"  (Draw a picture with more than 3 butterflies.)  I have a student come up and draw a picture of four or more butterflies. 

I remind students to keep their pictures simple.  The important part is that there are more than 3 butterflies.  We do not need to add a lot of details to the pictures.  I say this because some students focus on adding details and making their pictures perfect and then they make mistakes with their math. If you don't have a SMARTBoard, you can use the pdf of the slides in a variety of ways to reproduce this activity.

I tell students, "Today we will be comparing the numbers 0 to 5."

Presentation of Lesson

25 minutes

To start this lesson,  I call up five girls to stand in the front of the room.  I then call up two boys to stand in a second group.  I have the students count the girls with me.  I say, "We have 5 girls."  I write the number 5 on a small white board and hand it to one of the girls.  I have the students count the boys with me.  I say, "We have 2 boys."  I write the number 2 on a small white board and hand it to one of the boys.  I say, "We need to figure out which group has more.  Are there more boys or more girls?"  (Girls)  "We know that there are more girls because 5 is a larger number than 2.  When we are looking for more, we are looking for he group that has a larger number of objects."  I have the students sit back down, and I pull up Comparing Numbers 1 to 5 on the SMARTBoard.  I say, "We are going to count these pictures and compare how many is in each group."  I point to the lions and have the students count with me.  "There are 5 lions, so I am going to write the number 5 on the line."  I point to the frogs and have the students count with me."There are 4 frogs, so I am going to write the number 4 on the line.  Which group has more?  There are more lions.  Since we know there are more lions, we can say that there are fewer frogs."  I continue with the next two slides.  I have students help count and write the numbers.

I tell students that we will be practicing the comparing numbers on a Comparing Numbers 1 to 5 Worksheet.  I show students the paper and say, "We are going to be working on the front of this paper together.  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.  

I hand each student a paper for them to take back to their seats and 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 ‘Draw lines to match the objects in the two groups.  Circle the group that has more.  Put an X on the group that has less (fewer).'"  I model how to do number 1.  I count the moons and write the number on the line.  I then count the suns and write the number on the line.  I draw a line from each moon to a sun.  I remind students that we did this in our last unit.  I say, "I see that the group of suns has two extra.  There are two suns that do not have a partner.  That means that there are more suns."  I model how to circle the group of suns and put an X on the group of moons.  I continue with number two.  I have students come up to help count, write the numbers, draw the lines, circle the group with more and X the group with less.  I repeat this with number three, and when we get to comparing, I still ask, "Which group has more?"  I let the students come up with the answer that the groups are equal.  If the students disagree, I allow them to explain their thinking and respond to each others' responses. 

When the students are finished, they put their papers into the paper tray in the front of the classroom and get their center.


20 minutes

Since the students finish their papers at different times, I circulate through the room to make sure that student are completing their papers, putting it in the tray and getting their centers.  This week's centers are:

Play Dough Numbers (
Pattern Block, Lego, and Bear Count (
Roll and Count ( 
Number Tracing (I purchased mine, free ones are also available from WorkSheetFun
SMART Board- Online Game Scrambled Egg City (Macmillan/McGraw-Hill)

I 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.  I pull the first group for 10 minutes and the other two groups for 5 minutes each.  The first group is comprised of the students who were having trouble identifying numbers 0-5 and matching the numbers to objects.  I pull the students back to my small group table to do a reteach activity using flash cards and manipulatives (for this lesson I used bug counters).  I show the flash cards and have students practice identifying the numbers.  I then give each student a pile of manipulative (0-5) and have them pick the number card that matches their group.  I also preview tomorrow's activity with this group.  Tomorrow I plan to have the students play a comparing numbers game.  I let this group play it with me for a few minutes to help them prepare for the lesson tomorrow.  See example here.  Pre-teaching a group of struggling students can help build their confidence.  It also gives them a chance to feel successful when working with their peers.  The next two groups do a follow up activity that reviews comparing groups of objects.  I show them two groups of objects.  I have the students count how many is in each group and place a number card under it.  I then have them match up the objects and tell which group has more.  Prior to clean up, I check in with each table to see how the centers are going.  I turn on Tidy Up by Dr. Jean

There are many wonderful transition songs to be found, for free, online if you'd like to use music for transitions too.

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 put two small piles of objects under the document camera.  I have a student who worked in my small group come up, put the correct number card under each group and tell which group has more.  The students like getting to "Be the teacher" and other students like seeing their classmates' work being projected on the SMARTBoard.  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 learned how to compare the numbers 0 to 5.  Tomorrow, we are going to continue to practice comparing numbers 0 to 5 with a new game!”