Lesson Plan

Thinking About Three-Digit Numbers

Help students gain a better understanding of three-digit numbers by providing students with opportunities to compare sets of three-digit numbers. Use as a stand-alone activity or alongside the lesson Building My Math Fluency.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Building My Math Fluency lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Building My Math Fluency lesson plan.



Students will be able to use place value to compare three-digit numbers.


Students will be able to use place value to explain the similarities and differences between sets of three-digit numbers using sentence frames and partnerships for support.


(5 minutes)
Place Value Mat: Three-Digit NumbersComparing Three-Digit NumbersVocabulary Cards: Thinking About Three-Digit NumbersGlossary: Thinking About Three-Digit NumbersTeach Background Knowledge TemplateWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives Reference
  • Write down the following numbers on the whiteboard: 179 and 468.
  • Say, "Think about what you know about place value and discuss the following questions with an elbow partner." Write the question stems and corresponding sentence frames on the whiteboard and read them aloud:
    • Do these numbers have any similarities, or things that are the same?
      • These numbers are the same because ________.
    • Which number is the biggest? Which number is the smallest?
      • The biggest/smallest number is ________.
    • Imagine these numbers were on a number line. What number might be in between them?
      • The number ________ would be in between ________ and ________.
  • Give students a few minutes to discuss their ideas with their peers. Allow a few students to share out and guide them to use the sentence frames for support. Do not correct their answers, simply allow students to share their thoughts without the pressure of being correct.
  • Clarify that both numbers are three-digit numbers. Explain that three-digit numbers are numbers with a value in the ones place, a value in the tens place, and a value in the hundreds place. Read both numbers aloud and have students repeat the numbers chorally back to you (e.g. one hundred seventy nine).
  • Explain to the students that today they will be comparing sets of three-digit numbers to gain a better understanding of what three-digit numbers are.

Related Guided Lesson

Place Value 3

9 games
1 song video
5 printable worksheets
View Guided Lesson
second grade
Subject Math