Beacon Lesson Plan Library

It's Great to Be More

Sally McDine


Comparing whole and fractional numbers using <, >, or =, with manipulatives and drawings.


The student uses language and symbols (greater than, less than, =) to compare numbers in the same form and in two different forms such as 3/4 less than 1.


-Manipulatives such as fractional pie shapes: pies cut into , , 1/3, etc.
-Fractional rods of various fractional pieces
-Anything that you wish to use to demonstrate fractional parts

For whole numbers:
-A number chart
-Small manipulatives
-Whole pieces representing the fractional shapes
-Chart or poster paper
-Colored markers


1. Cut chart/poster paper for each pair, have a couple of extra sheets just in case.
2. Prepare overhead or board.
3. Distribute several colors of markers for each pair.
4. Distribute sets of boxed/bagged manipulatives to each pair.
5. Create demonstration problems to model on the overhead or the board
6. Create several problems that they will be doing on their own chart paper.
7. Prepare ten comparison problems for the final assessment.


1. Model this concept on the board or overhead:
a. Show three objects and eight objects and ask which one is less.
b. Draw three cats and eight cats and add the < sign between the sets of cats.
c. Write the problem on the board, 3 < 8. Have the students copy this onto a sheet of note paper.
d. Do another example using a fractional number to a whole number comparison - use fraction pieces to demonstrate the comparison. Use the > sign this time. Do a third example using fractions and whole numbers and use the = sign. Elicit the verbal names for the signs: less than, more than, equal to.

2. Group students in pairs. Each pair receives materials for the project.

3. Students write their names on the back of their poster/chart paper. They take turns writing and drawing problems/responses.

4. Write several comparison problems on the board/overhead: ex: 9>6, < 2, 22>10, 2 < 5, 11=11. Students copy the problems onto their charts/poster papers. They use the manipulatives to work out the comparisons between the numbers and draw illustrations for each problem to show the comparisons.

5. Together the two students in each pair make up six comparison problems, using whole and fractional numbers (at least two sets must use fractional numbers). They are to write their problems onto the chart paper using manipulatives to decide upon whether a set is less than, greater than, or equal to. They draw illustrations to show each set of numbers. Students must include the signs.

6. They can decorate their chart papers anyway they wish. Each pair shows their poster to the class and each partner describes two of the problems that they made up. This part can be used as the verbal assessment.

7. The teacher can display these colorful and creative math posters on a board or wall.

8. While the students are working, circulate, answering questions and giving suggestions.


Evidence: When given ten sets of two numbers, either whole and/or fractional, the students will be able to compare them as to less than, greater than, or equal to, using the correct symbol and giving the answer verbally using the correct comparing words. This would be a pencil and paper style assessment. Have students copy the sets from the overhead or board and insert the symbol. During the group presentation each student will describe two comparison problems verbally.

Acceptable Criteria: They should be able to get at least 7 out of the 10 correctly written and two verbally answered correctly. This is a paper and pencil assessment for the 7 out of 10 written responses and calling upon a student for a verbal response.

Ex: written: 2=2
verbally: 2 equals 2


Students can do the following ideas for developing and demonstrating comparison as related to daily life:
a. comparing numbers of crayons or markers between two students
b. comparing number of family members between two students
c. comparing different styles of shoes of the class (ex: sneakers vs. sandals, Velcro vs. tied, etc.)
d. comparing the number of boys versus girls for different grade levels (these can also be used to introduce bar graphing)
e. comparing slices of cake with a whole cake.

Anything relating to real life can be used to demonstrate this concept.
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