Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Greedy Gator

Lory Vanpool
Polk County Schools


Greedy Gator always wants the pile with more! Fortunately, his mouth looks just like a greater than-less than sign. After practicing with his toothy mouth and little cookies, students can easily begin using the sign like real mathematicians.


The student compares two or more sets (up to 100 objects in each set) and identifies which set is equal to, more than, or less than the other.


-Paper plates (one per student)
-Small manipulatives such as candy, cereal, math cubes (appox. 15 per student)
-Pencils (red for half of class, regular for half of class)
-Greedy Gator jaws, one per pair (assoc. file)
-Practice skill sheet (assoc. file)
-Front board with writing tools


1. Gather:
-Paper plates (one per student)
-Small manipulatives such as candy, cereal, math cubes (appox. 15 per student)
-Front board with writing tools
2. Arrange seating so that each student has a partner and two pairs of partners can work together.
3. Make a Greedy Gator mouth for each pair (assoc. file).
4. Make one copy of Partner Practice sheet per pair (two available on each full sheet of paper)
5. Make one copy of Private Practice for each student (two available on each full sheet of paper).
6. Have red and regular pencils sharpened and available.


NOTE: This lesson is specific to the determining and indicating of greater than, less than, and equal to and using the appropriate symbols.

1. Begin by holding up two plates of “cookies”. Say to class, “Hmmmm, I wonder which plate of cookies I want. Which one would you want, the plate with 10 cookies, or the plate with 5 cookies? Well, my friend Greedy Gator always wants the big share. Which one would HE want?”

2. Remind class that we have already practiced counting, and putting numbers in the right order.

3. Distribute 1 small paper plate and baggy containing Cookie Crisp Cereal to each student.

4. Direct students to pair up with the student at their shoulder.

5. Instruct Partner #1 to count out 5 cookies and put them on their plate. Partner #2 then double checks #1’s counting.

6. Instruct Partner #2 to count out 7 cookies and put them on their plate. Partner #1 then double checks #2’s counting.

7. Ask the pair to place the Greedy Gator’s mouth so that it is open to the plate holding more cookies.

8. Set a timer for 15 seconds, during which the two pairs at each table compare and discuss their answers.

9. Randomly choose a student from each table to come up to the board to draw the direction the mouth is pointing. This is a great time to show them the “mathematician’s way” of drawing the Greedy Gator’s mouth (> or <).

10. Repeat steps 1 thru 7 with different number combinations – make sure you alternate which side has the greater amount.

11. Eventually introduce a number pair that is equal. Take time to let students discuss how they might show this on the board.

12. Give each pair of students a practice sheet for greater than – less than. Partner #1 works with a red pencil and Partner #2 works with a regular pencil.

13. Instruct Partner #1 to draw the “mouth” for problem 1 and for Partner #2 to either agree (draw a star) or disagree ( ask Partner #1 to explain the answer).

14. Direct students that when #1’s problem is completed and correct, Partner #2 then does the next problem for #1 to check. This continues until all the pair practice problems are completed.

15. Circulate to check for misunderstandings and comprehension by all students and provide instructional feedback.


Students will complete a practice sheet (included in associated file) of number sets determined to be “greater than, less than, or equal” with at least 80% accuracy. Students who cannot achieve 80% accuracy should receive individual or small group instruction and get another opportunity to demonstrate mastery.


1. Many different items can be used to demonstrate quantities. You can use Cookie Crisp cereal or counting chips. Students could color in 15 die-cut circles as their own favorite cookies.
2. Practice one –to-one correspondence counting with ESOL and ESE students to revisit number words and order.
3. Individual white boards could be used for individual vs cooperative practice. By revealing their answers all at once to you (on your signal) you get 100% participation without the risks of saying the answer aloud in front of the class.

Attached Files

Practice sheets for math skill.     File Extension: pdf

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