Lesson plan

Number Number!

Use this introductory lesson on comparison to provide students with practice identifying groups of more and less.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Comparing Groups to 20 pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Comparing Groups to 20 pre-lesson.

Students will be able to write and compare numbers 0-10.


Students will be able to describe how to compare two groups using math manipulatives, counting strategies, and peer support.

(5 minutes)
  • Gather the class together for a read-aloud.
  • Read the text Just Enough Carrots to the class.
(5 minutes)
  • Place 8 items (e.g., buttons) on the floor in the center of the students. Then place 1 item in a different part of the floor.
  • Using the vocabulary cards, explain that more means a larger amount and less means a smaller amount.
  • Ask, "Which group has more and which has less?"
  • Model how to count the groups to decide which one has more items. You can do this by placing the items in a line as you count them to show how you keep track as you count. Have the students give a thumbs up to show which group they think has more (point to each group after counting).
  • Explain that there are many different ways to compare the two groups. Ask students to think of other ways they could figure out which group has more/less than the other.
(5 minutes)
  • Put students in pairs and explain that you are going to pass each partner some items.
  • Pass out 4 items to each group (one student should get one and the other student should get three).
  • Ask each pair, "What do you notice about your items?" Students should note that one partner has more. Remind them that more is the larger amount of something.
  • Tell the student with three items to give their partner two of their items. Now ask, "Who has more?" Then ask each pair to discuss how they can make both groups equal, or the same. Students should be able to figure out that each person gets two items.
  • Note the strategies students use and share out with the class, e.g., "I saw that Sam and Iza counted their groups and moved their items so both groups had the same amount."
(10 minutes)
  • Tell students that now they will get to play a game with a partner to practice comparing two groups.
  • Model how to play the cup game by explaining that one student will put a handful of each of two-color counters in a cup and shake it. Then they will pour it out on the table. The other partner should decide which group (e.g., red or white) has more. Both partners should discuss ther choice to make sure that they agree with their partner. Then they will repeat by switching roles.
  • Pair students up and pass out a cup and 10 two-color counters to each pair.


  • Review counting 1-10 in English.
  • During the activity, allow students to count in their home language (L1).


  • Introduce students to comparison language and symbols ("greater than"/"less than") to use when describing their groups.
  • Encourage students to play the cup game using a larger amount of two-color counters.
(5 minutes)
  • Assess students' ability to use one-to-one correspondence when counting. Are students able to differentiate between numbers?
  • Take note of the strategies students use when comparing groups.
(5 minutes)
  • Display the Count the Insects worksheet using a document camera. As a class, decide which group has more.
  • If time allows, pass out the worksheet and have students complete as an exit ticket.

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