True or False?

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SWBAT sort <, > and = statements into true or false groups.

Big Idea

Take the comparison gator symbols to a whole new level in this lesson! Students apply their understanding of the inequality symbols to distinguish between statements that are true and false.

Setting Up the Learning

5 minutes


Yesterday we learned about a new math symbol: the greater gator! We used the greater than, less than and equal to symbols to help us show the relationship between two numbers. Today we will see how other people used the symbols and make sure they used them correctly. This is aligned to CCSS MP3, Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others!


The symbols we are using today are symbols you are going to use in first grade, second grade and all the way through high school. These symbols help us show a relationship between two numbers without having to write any words.


Your thinking job is: Is this statement true or false? 

Opening Discussion

10 minutes

We will quickly review symbols from the day before:

The hungry alligator always eats the greater number. There are a few things we have to do to figure out which way the alligator needs to face.

Our steps for using these symbols are:

  • Look at both numbers.

  • Circle the greater number.

  • Make the alligator eat the bigger number.

Turn and talk: Tell your partner the 3 steps to figuring out which alligator you should use to compare two numbers.

I have one round of the Alligator Chomp game that I want us to look at together. I can’t decide if it is true or false.

78 > 87


Partner talk: Do you think this is true? Or false?

I'll share out 1-2 ideas from students then give them about 5-7 minutes of work time to write if it is true or false and “Prove” why. Students are expected to give reasons for their answer in drawings and in writing. Students may give base 10 explanations (7 tens is less than 8 tens) or counting sequence examples (78 is smaller because it is closer to 1, we pass 78 to get to 87). This is aligned to CCSS MP3, Construct viable arguments; students always have to back up their answers!

Student Work Time and Share

20 minutes

I’m going to choose 1 piece of student work to share with the class as an exemplar. Students need a lot of time in the early grades hearing how others explain their thinking-this modeling will help them learn how to explain their thinking by themselves.

You can see a piece of actual student work in the attached picture: Student Writing Example
You can also see the chart I used with the class to show his thinking: Student Share Chart

After we discuss what he wrote, we will do a quick partner talk so students can summarize their learning. Prompt: How did your friend prove that this was false? 

Independent Practice

15 minutes

There are 3 variations of this sort. 

Group A: Intervention

Number under 50, some focus on reversals and paying attention to the order in which the numbers are written.

Group B: Right on Track

Numbers under 100

Group C: Extension

Numbers up to 200


After all students complete the sort, they choose 2 inequality statements to prove using words or pictures on the back. 

See attached documents!


10 minutes

We will do a moving sort. This allows students to get up and moving! Give each student an index card with an inequality statement on it. Some of them should be true and some should be false. 

Designate one area of the room as the "True" side, the other side as the "False" side. Have students walk to a side. If time, have students switch cards and keep playing. 


After this game, students will complete the attached exit ticket!