Greedy Gordy Goes on a Diet - Learning About Less

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Students will be able to compare two groups of objects and tell which one has less.

Big Idea

More is a fairly easy concept for children to understand. Less is a little more challenging. This lesson will help build a foundational understanding of the concept of less.


10 minutes

For this part of the lesson, you will need a copy of the classroom book, Greedy Gordy Goes on a Diet.  This book is included as a PDF with this lesson.  I like to laminate the pages and bind the book with a comb for durability.  The book could also be put together with book rings.  The last page of the file includes a "Gordy the Pig" that needs to be cut out and attached to the book with a string. I tape the string to the back of the last page of the book.

I gather the students around my big chair and I say to them, Do you remember our story about Gordy from yesterday.  Gordy was very...what?  Greedy!  Right.  He always wanted...Right again!  More.  Well, from our story today, it looks like Gordy had a little too much.  This story is called, Greedy Gordy Goes on a Diet.  Do you know what a diet is?  When you are on a diet you need to watch what you eat and you often eat less when you are on a diet.  Why do you think Gordy needed to go on a diet?  Let's see what the story says.

I turn to the first page and read, "This is Gordy.  He is greedy.  He always wants more." But…Gordy’s doctor told him he needed to get healthy and eat less.  Gordy loves hamburgers, but the doctor says he should eat less hamburgers.  Can you find the plate that has less?"

I invite a student to come up and put Gordy on the plate that has less.

I turn the page and in my "pig voice" say, Still yummy!

I continue reading the book in this fashion, inviting student to come up and place Gordy on the side that shows less.  When we get to the end of the book, we discuss whether it's a good idea for Gordy to skip exercising.

After we finish the book, we move over to the SMARTBoard to continue with the lesson. 


15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use my SMARTBoard.  If you have a SMARTBoard, the file can easily be downloaded and opened.  If you have a different type of interactive whiteboard, you can still use this lesson by opening the file in Smart Notebook Express.  There is also a PDF of the slides so you can recreate this part of the lesson.  You will notice that the Smartboard lesson and activities are very much like the previous lesson on more.  This is so the students make the connection between less and more.

I gather my students in front of the SMARTBoard.  I have cards with each student's name on.  These cards are used for selecting who will come up to the Smartboard.

I open the first slide (SMARTBoard Slide 1) with the lesson objective written in "student friendly" terms.  There is a content objective and a language objective to help focus on vocabulary expansion for my English Learners (ELs) to be congruent with SIOP instructional techniques.  I read these objectives aloud for my students.

Content Standard
I can compare two groups of objects and decide which one has less.

Language Standard
I can compare two groups using the word less.


Slide 2:  I say to the students, I use the word less to compare two groups.  When we say a group has less, it is the smaller group.  It has the fewer number of items.  There are less bananas than apples.

Slide 3:  I instruct the student to count and write how many for each group.  They then compare the groups by drawing lines between them.   A student then circles the group that has less.  It is important to discuss with the students that the group that always has "partners" is the group with less.  I always end each slide with the sentence, "There are less ______than ______ and I have the students repeat after me.  It is important for them to develop their mathematical language skills. 

Slides 4, 5 and 6:  Complete the same as slide 3.  Click on the link to see students interacting with the SMARTBoard lesson.

Slide 7:  It is now "turn and talk" time.  The student get with their "turn and talk" partners.  I ask them, Are there less cars or trucks?  Turn to your partner and share your thoughts.  After the students have had time to talk, I bring the group back together.  I ask them, which group has less?  So you think there are less trucks.  Let's check our work.  I invite students to count the items and record the answers and another student to draw the line between.  Another student circle thetrucks .  To build oral language skills, I again have them repeat after me, there are less trucks than cars.

I then instruct the students to move back to their seats for guided practice.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

For this part of the lesson, you will need the Greedy Gordy Goes on a Diet student books that are included as a PDF with this lesson.  The books can be copied and stapled on the side.  Use a paper cutter to cut the books in half (two books per copy).  You will also need yarn for the students to attach their Gordy to the book.

I distribute the books to the students and have them write their name on the front.  I then instruct the students to tear the back page off of their book and cut out Gordy.  I circulate around the room with yarn and tape to attach Gordy to the back of the book.  To save time, the yarn could already be attached to the back of the book, ready for Gordy to be attached.

After Gordy is attached, we begin reading the book together.  I ask the students to point to the title and we read it, "Greedy Gordy Goes on a Diet"  We turn to the next page and I help the students read it. "This is Gordy.  He is greedy.  He always wants more.  But…Gordy’s doctor told him he needed to get healthy and eat less. "

We continue to the next page. "Gordy loves hamburgers, but the doctor says he should eat less hamburgers.  Can you find the plate that has less?"  I tell the students, I want you to put Gordy on the plate that has less.  The students move their Gordy to the plate that has less.  I circulate around the room and check their work.  I then invite them to count with me.  On the first plate I count 1-2-3-4-5.  On the second plate, I count 1-2-3.  Three is less than five.  I always have them repeat it as a sentence to expand their language.  

We continue in the book, moving Gordy to the side that has less.  At the end of the story, the students get to place Gordy in the mud.   I then have them set the book on their name tag.  They will be given time to color in it after independent practice.

Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

15 minutes

For this section, you will need the Comparing with Less Recording Sheet included as a PDF with this lesson.  Make one copy per student.  You will also need 4 sets of manipulatives for each student.  The recording sheet uses bear and frog counters, but any type of manipulatives could be substituted.  The recording sheet just needs to be altered accordingly.

Prepare the manipulatives in advance by counting them into Dixie cups that can be reused or zipper bags.  Put the following number of each manipulative in the cups:

Set 1:  3 bears  and 4 frogs per cup/student

Set 2:  5 bears and 2 frogs per cup/student

Set 3:  6 bears and 3 frogs per cup/student

Set 4:  4 bears and 3 frogs per cup/student


Distribute the recording sheet to the students, have them put their name on it and set their pencils down.  I explain to the students, We will be comparing groups of frogs and bears to see which one has less.  I am going to give you a cup with some bears and frogs in them.  I want you to put the frogs in the squares right next to the frog on the sheet and the bears right next to the bears on the sheet.  I circulate around the room making sure the students are places the manipulatives on the sheet correctly.

After the students have the manipulatives placed on the squares, I tell them to count the number of frogs they have.  How many frogs?  Okay, write the number four in the box at the end of the frog row.  Now let’s count the bears.  How many do you have?  Okay, now write the number three in the box at the end of the bear row.  I again move through the room and check their work.

Now I show them how to color in the squares.  I have them start with the bears so they don’t disturb the frogs.  I show them how to remove a bear from the paper put it in the cup and then color it in.  I have them do this for the bear row, checking their work.  Then I have them do the frog row. 

After they have the squares colored in, I have them draw lines connecting the frog squares with the bear squares.  I ask them which group has less, the frogs or the bears?  That’s right.  There are less bears than frogs.  I can tell because all the bears have partners..  Say that with me, “There are less bears than frogs.”

I collect the cups of manipulatives and distribute the next set.  If you taught the previous lesson on more, you can probably allow the students to complete the page on their own.  If you did not, I suggest modeling one more set of manipulatives for the students.  

I check there work as they complete it.  They can color in their Greedy Gordy Goes on a Diet when they are done.