Lesson plan

Comparing Numbers: I Declare War!

Students will play the card game War to learn about place value and comparing numbers using the terms "less than", "greater than", and "equal to".
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Students will learn to compare two digit numbers.

(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that today they will be learning about place value and comparing numbers.
  • You should have an anchor chart with the comparison symbols and examples displayed.
  • Review the comparison symbols: >,<, and =.
  • You can draw the comparison symbols for greater than and less than to look like a Pac-Man or an alligator and explain that this symbol "eats" the largest number.
(10 minutes)
  • Allow the students to watch the Urple and Burple interactive story. In this story two troll brothers learn about comparing numbers.
  • After the story, have the students independently complete the Cookies! worksheet to practice using the comparison symbols.
  • Tell the students that when you compare two-digit numbers, you need to look at the place value of the numbers.
  • Draw a place value chart on the board. Mark the the column on the left TENS and the column on the right ONES.
  • Explain that when comparing two-digit numbers you must first look at the number in the TENS place. Write the numbers 29 and 21 in the place value chart.
  • Show the students that in the tens place the two numbers are equal. The two in the tens place means "2 tens".
  • Explain that now they must look in the ones place to determine which of the two numbers is the greatest, or largest. Since 9 ones is greater than 1, 29 is the greatest number.
  • Draw 29 > 21 on the board.
(15 minutes)
  • Write 32 and 37 on the chart. Ask for a student volunteer to come to the board. Ask them to explain which number is greater and why.
  • Tell the students that they are going to play a card game. Ask them if they are they familiar with the card game War. If students are not familiar, describe it to them as a game where two players lay down one card each at the same time and the player with the card of the larger value collects both cards.
  • Tell them that they will play with a partner.
  • Before they begin the game, they need to create the score sheet.
  • The sheet should have the students name on the left and their partner's name on the right. Draw an example of the score card on the board or on poster paper.
  • Underneath each of the names they should create a place value chart. This is where they will write their numbers.
  • Explain that they will deal the cards until they are all passed out between the two players. Tell students that unlike the regular game they will each play two cards at a time. Pull four cards out of a pile.
  • Demonstrate to the students that if one person pulls a 2 and a 3 card they will write 2 in the TENS place on their score sheet and a 3 in the ONES place. Player two pulls 4 and 9. 4 will be written in the TENS place on the place value chart under the other players name. The 9 will be placed in the ONES place. Each player will then place a comparison symbol between the players score.
  • On the board draw the results of the first round. Ask the class what should be written between the scores of the first round. They should answer that the score should read 23 < 49.
  • Partner the students and monitor them as they create the score sheet. Once the score sheets have been completed with the correct labeling they can receive the playing cards.
(20 minutes)
  • Once all the students have received their cards you should monitor the games. Make sure they are correctly placing their scores on the score sheet and are comparing the numbers using the correct comparison symbols after each round.
  • At the end of the game you can declare everyone a winner because they played well and learned to compare numbers!
  • Enrichment: Students that have mastered the two-digit comparisons can create a place value chart with a HUNDREDS place and play three cards at a time.
  • Support: Students that need additional assistance can use a hundreds chart to help them place the numbers. They can also have index cards with the greater than, less than, and equal symbols and the definitions and examples to keep at their desk.
(10 minutes)
  • You can use the Comparing Numbers: Scoops Up, Lacy's Place Value, or Quincy's Place Value worksheets to assess your students.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask the students to reflect on the game. Ask students what the most challenging part of the game was for them.
  • Ask them how they would determine the larger number if the numbers in the tens places were the same.

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