EL Support Lesson

Block Tower Comparison

In this fun hands-on lesson, students will get become architects as they compare their buildings and practice comparing numbers 0-10.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Let's Choose Less lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Let's Choose Less lesson plan.
  • Students will be able to compare quantities and determine which has less.
  • Students will be able to explain how to find the group with less items.
(2 minutes)
  • Gather the class together in a circle.
  • Say, "Today we are going to learn about comparison, or how to see how two groups are different or the same."
  • Show the class a pile of markers and a pile of pencils, then say, "How can we figure out which group has less?"
(5 minutes)
  • Point to the two groups of things to the class (e.g., pencils and markers) and say, "These groups look the same. I wonder which group has less or a smaller amount?"
  • Model thinking aloud to show how to count each group and decide which group has less items. Recount with the class echo-counting after you.
  • Point to the number of items in each group on a number line to highlight the bigger number and smaller number.
(5 minutes)
  • Point to the pile of blocks and say, "We are going to build towers! Then we are going to decide which tower has less blocks. Remember, the number that is less is the number that is smaller or not as much as the other number."
  • Model the following steps:
    1. Partner A rolls the die and says the number rolled aloud
    2. Count out that many blocks for tower
    3. Build a tower
    4. Partner B repeats same steps. Both partners decide which tower has less blocks
  • Play a round as a group, having the class echo-count as you add blocks to your tower.
  • Model how to recount each tower to decide which has less
  • Play a second round. This time ask the students to turn and talk to a partner to share which tower they think has less, then share out with the class (using a thumbs up/thumbs down) to share thinking.
(10 minutes)
  • Pair students together and then pass out a die and set of 12 blocks to each pair.
  • Send students to work independently with their partner.


  • Allow students to count in their home language (L1).
  • Have students work with smaller numbers 0–5 when comparing block towers.
  • Provide students with sentence frames to use when comparing their towers: "This tower has __ __ __ __ blocks and this tower has __ __ __ __ blocks, so it is has less."


  • Practice comparing block towers with bigger numbers (11–20).
  • Pass out paper and have students record their block towers using drawings and written numerals. Then have them share with a partner to explain how they know which tower has less blocks.
  • Introduce comparison vocabulary and symbols.
(5 minutes)
  • Circulate around the room while students work in pairs to assess if students are able to accurately compare their block towers to determine which has less.
  • Ask guiding questions to check for understanding and identify any areas of confusion: "How many did you roll?" "Can you count your tower?" "Which tower has less?" "How do you know?"
(3 minutes)
  • Gather the class back together and create one last pair of block towers (using the dice to determine quantity).
  • Ask students to turn and talk to share which tower has less.
  • Have students share out their ideas. As students share, reframe as needed to share strategies students are using to find the tower with less (e.g., counting aloud, looking at height, etc.).

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