I hand students a handful of colorful candy (jelly beans, skittles, m&ms) or colorful cubes. I want you to divide your candy (or cubes) by color. Then we're going to record how much of each color we have on our table.
After giving students time to separate and count, we tally the amounts as a group and record the results on an anchor chart:
Color 
Number of candies (or cubes) 
Green 

Pink 

Blue 

Yellow 

Red 

I start my lesson with this activity since it provides a framework so students can understand how we turn raw data (a pile of colorful candy or cubes) into an organized table. This activity should be short and the emphasis should be less on counting and more on reasoning how disorganized data can be organized.
Now that we have gathered our data, we are going to use this data to tell us important things about the kinds of candy that we have in our class.
My first question is: How many extra [Red] than [Yellow] candies are there?
I allow students to go back to their desks and use manipulatives (cubes and place value blocks) as well as their white board to solve this problem in what ever way see fit. Students strategies will likely range from concrete to abstract. Some students might solve the problem very concretely by lining up cubes and counting to see how many extra [red] candies there are. Others might draw bars or circles for both the [red] and [yellow] candies and line them up and determine how many extra there are. Others might be able to abstractly think about the numbers in the table and set up an appropriate number sentence (MP2).
In this video, the student draws circles to represent the number of red candies and then shades in the number of yellow candies to determine how many extra (or how many more) there are.
After students have worked for 35 minutes I ask twothree students to share the strategy that they intend to use. Record strategies on the board as students share them. As I record the strategies on the board, I make drawings so that students can easily see what each strategy looks like.
Once students have completed sharing their strategies, I ask them to turn to their partner.
Turn and talk: What number sentence matches your strategy?
As students discuss, I circulate to listen to students' strategies and how they are justifying their work.
Some students may set this up as a subtraction problem as [Red] – [Yellow}= _______. Others might set it up as an addition problem: Yellow + ___________= Red. Others might set it up as Red ___________= Yellow. It is fine if the number sentences are variable as long as they match the students' strategies.
After students have had 12 minutes to discuss, I ask two or three students to share out their number sentence and their strategy, showing how their number sentence links to their strategy.
Independent practice is differentiated. During independent practice, I will circulate, starting with Group A , moving to Group B, and ending with Group C. During this time I will (1) support students by asking guiding questions like: why did you choose this strategy? Why did you choose to add? Why did you choose to subtract? and (2) Take notes on common trends and necessary reteaching.
Group A: In need of intervention:
Group A will work on comparison problems with numbers 1030. This group should be encouraged to use cubes in order to concretely compare the different amounts. This group has smaller numbers so that they can easily use cubes and more concrete materials to solve these comparison problems.
Group B: Right on track!
Group B will work on comparison problems with numbers 1550, using cubes and place value blocks where necessary. This group will be required to regroup.
Group C: Extension
Group C will work on comparison problems using numbers 15100 using cubes and place value blocks where necessary. This group will be required to regroup in their comparison problems.
Today we worked on comparing numbers using addition and subtraction strategies. Who can tell me some of the strategies that we worked on today?
We review strategies for comparison problems and make a list on the board.
We will continue to work on these strategies over the next couple days.