Classroom Comparisons

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SWBAT compare objects indirectly using a third object. SWBAT order lengths.

Big Idea

Students use a single object to compare other lengths in this school supply lesson.

Setting Up the Learning

5 minutes

The standard (1.MD.1) asks students to compare objects indirectly using a third object. In this lesson, kids think about an anchor object and think of an object that is shorter than it and longer than it. Then they practice the other half of this standard, which is showing how to order all 3 objects.


We have played Scoop it and Order it before, and we were ordering from longest to shortest. Today we are going to play the game again, but we are going to switch up how we put them in order.


Putting lengths in order helps us think about how we compare different objects. We compare objects to help us think about how the lengths are different from each other.

Objective :

Your thinking job today is: How do I know which way to order three objects?

Opening Discussion

10 minutes

Today you are going to get an object. You are going to have to think of something longer than that object and shorter than that object. Then you will put them in order from shortest to longest or longest to shortest.

My object is a marker.

  • Partner talk: What is something longer than this marker?

  • I'll choose 1 of the objects from the partner talk and write it down on the chart paper.

  • Partner talk: What is something shorter than this marker?

  • Follow same routine, modeling how to draw and label it (crayon for example) 

Now I have 3 objects we have looked at: a marker, a journal, a crayon.

I want to draw these objects from shortest to longest. That is tricky because the objects may just be in my brain! I can either take out the objects or just think about which one I should draw first.

  • Which one will go first? Why the shortest?

  • I'll model drawing them as different sizes. This is an early grades way of working students towards representing mathematical concepts, which is part of multiple Mathematical Practice standards.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

Do one together for guided practice. Students draw their objects on white boards.

Object: Journal

  • Think of an object that is longer than your journal. Draw it and label it.

  • Think of an object that is shorter than your journal. Draw it and label it.

  • Put the three objects in order from longest to shortest. Model think aloud: “Longest to shortest. Before I do anything, I need to draw a L, M and S because longest has to go first”.

Partner talk: Share your whiteboard. Are your objects in order from longest to shortest? Let your partner check your work.

This partner practices has students practice evaluating others’ work, which is a very high level skill for anyone, but especially a first grader. To teach Common Core standards to mastery, I try to prioritize putting the heavy lifting on the student, which is why I am not checking whiteboards! I don't want students to think that I am the sole source of math knowledge. I want them to drive themselves to becoming mastery, not just seek my approval. Students work together to evaluate each other’s work and fix mistakes.

Continue to practice as time allows, switching between shortest to longest and longest to shortest.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

I’ll have bins prepared for each table that are filled with interesting objects from around the classroom-school supplies, toys, math manipulatives, etc.


1. Students get an object from a bin in the middle of the table.

2. They write down their object (see the recording sheet in the resources).

3. Students draw something longer and then draw something shorter.

4. Students draw all 3 objects in order from either shortest to longest or longest to shortest.

Intervention: An easy scaffold for these students is to always have them physically put the objects in order before trying to draw them in order.

See attached video for a dialogue with a student working on this activity!


10 minutes

See lesson image for example!

This closing activity gets kids moving and is a great way to wrap up the lesson! 

I have the students sit in a circle and then choose 1 student to lay down in the middle of the rug. I ask students to identify someone who is shorter, and then someone who is longer. Then we put students in order from shortest to longest and longest to shortest.