More Than, Less Than
A pair of cards that helps children develop their understanding of the mathematical symbols > (more than), and < (less than).
The 'crocodile's mouth' version for these symbols has been around for a while, but I have always found linking the symbols to arm positions to be more meaningful for young children.
This mathsticks “more than, less than” resources matches arm positions to the mathematical symbols.
However, I always introduce the arm positions themselves before the symbols. For example:
Three children in a row in size order: Abigail, Ben and Christopher. The child in the middle opens his arms to demonstrate the difference in size:
Ben says, “Abigail is taller than Chris”
Ben's widespread arms indicate the taller person (later, the larger quantity), as if he were trying to measure her; head to toe.
Abigail and Chris each hold a tower of unifix cubes. Ben uses his arms to indicate the tallest tower.
“Abigail's tower is smaller than Christopher's”
“Abigail has fewer cubes than Christopher”
“Abigail has less than Christopher”
Blu-Tak cubes to a whiteboard, count the cubes and ask the children to label the quantities. Encourage the children to talk about “more” and “less”. Elicit a sentence that describes the situation. For example, “3 is less than 9”, then draw an 'armless' stick figure between the sets of cubes and ask the children to help draw on the arms.
The teaching points here are that
- the arms of the symbol indicate the larger amount, and that...
- the number sentence is always read from left to right.
Help the children to realise that although drawing stick figures each time is fun, it is also inefficient. So, the arm positions alone (< and >) should be enough.
The mathstick “more than, less than” cards support learning at each of the above steps.
The downloadable* resource include a pdf version of these teaching ideas (together with a few other ideas), two large cards (13cm by 14cm) for demonstration use, and six smaller (6cm by 9cm) children cards.
These can be cut up and laminated individually, or stuck back to back to make double faced cards.
Print them as many times as you need, you can also share them with other staff in your school, parents and other teachers (but, please observe the Creative Commons Licence).