Comparing Numbers to 10

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Students will be able to compare numbers up to 10.

Big Idea

Ten Apples Up On Top! is a a great Dr. Seuss book to use for comparing numbers . Students will can count the number of apples on top of each character and compare the numbers to see which character has more!

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.  This says 'Count the fish.  Count the bubbles.  Which group has more?'"  I say, "This problem has three parts.  What is the first thing it asks us to do?"  (Count the fish.)  I have a student come up and count the fish aloud.  I ask, "What can we do to make it easier to count these cards?"  I have students suggest strategies.  I show the students that we can not move the fish like we did the cards yesterday.  I show the students how to put a small mark on each picture to show that it was counted.  (Part of Common Core Standard K.CC.B.5 says, "Count to answer 'how many?' questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration."  This problem gives students an experience with things in a scattered configuration which can be confusing for them to count.)  I have the students count again using the marks, and then write the number on the line.  "Listen to the direction again.  'Count the fish.  Count the bubbles.  Which group has more?'  What do we need to do next?"  (Count the bubbles.) I have a student come up and count the bubbles while marking them. I then have that student write the number on the line.  "Listen to the direction again.  'Count the fish.  Count the bubbles.  Which group has more?'  What do we need to do next?"  (Find which group has more.)  I have a student tell which group has more and come up to circle that number. 

If you don't have a SMARTBoard, you can use the pdf copy of the slides in a variety of ways to reproduce this activity.

I tell students, "Today we will keep learning about comparing numbers just like we did in this problem.  We are going to learn to compare numbers up to 10."

This Problem of the Day reviews writing the numbers 9 and 10.  It also has the students find which group has more.  Even though we are learning to compare numbers in this lesson, I included it to make this Problem of the Day more challenging.  While comparing numbers above 5 is new, we have covered more and less in the last two units and in many Problem of the Days.

Presentation of Lesson

25 minutes

I pull up the Apples On Top SMART Notebook page and show students the book Ten Apples on Top by Dr. Seuss.  I tell students that in this story the lion and the dog are trying to see who can balance more apples on their heads.  I read the story, and as I read, I have a student come up and put that many apples on the lion and dog's heads.  After each apple is added I ask, "Which has more?"  I students come up and draw lines connecting the apples to help them see which group has extra apples and is the group with more. 

I tell students that we will continuing to practice on a Comparing Numbers to 10 worksheet.  I show students the paper and say, "We will be working on this paper together.  You need to get out a 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 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 more.  Put an X on the group that has less.'  Let's start by drawing lines to match the objects."  I model this on my paper and walk around to monitor as the students do the same on their papers.  I watch to make sure that the students are connecting each apple to just one apple in the other column.  "Which group has more?"  I call on a student who is raising a quiet hand.  I have the student come up and point to the group with more.  "How do we know?"  There are extra apples above the tiger.  I have that students circle the apples above the tiger's head.  "The directions also say to Put an X on the group that has less.  Which group has less?"  The group above the lion's head has less.  I model how to put a large X over the whole group of apples over the lion's head.  I repeat this with the second question with the yellow and green apples.  When we are finished, I say, "The back of the paper has the same directions as the front.  You may finish the paper on your own.  Make sure you circle the group with more and put an X on the group with less."  When they 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 students are completing their papers, putting it in the tray and getting their centers.  This week's centers are:

Writing Numbers in Sand (Use Number Cards 0 to 10)
Number Order Puzzles (
Counting and Ten Frames (
Dice Race (
Apple Counting SMART Board ( - Use slide 11 as center)

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 and matching the numbers to objects.  Even though we are working on comparing numbers, I start with identify and matching numbers to objects for this group since they need to master this skill.  I have a basic idea of who I want in each group based on recent assessments, but I also take into account how the students did in the whole group lesson.  I pull the students back to my small group table to do a reteach activity using flash cards and manipulatives (2-color counters).  I show the flash cards and have students practice identifying the numbers.  I then give each student a pile of counters (1-10) and have them pick the number card that matches their group.  I then make two lines of counters and have the students use wiki sticks to connect the counters and say which group has more.  The next two groups of students do just the activity with comparing numbers.  I do this much quicker for these groups.  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 SMARTBoard and let one of the students who did well comparing the groups of counters come up and show us how to figure out which group has more.  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 numbers to 10.  Let's count to 10 together."  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10  "Tomorrow, we are going to continue practicing how to compare numbers to 10."