Lesson plan

Making Bigger & Smaller Numbers

Engage students in comparing three-digit numbers by playing a fun game. Through this lesson, students will gain hands-on experience with using their knowledge of place value to compare numbers.
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Students will be able to compare three-digit numbers.

(10 minutes)

Write the number 493 on the board. Ask students to identify how many ones, tens, and hundreds are in the number.

Now write the number 394 on the board. Again ask students to identify how many ones, tens, and hundreds are in the number.

Ask which number is bigger. Call on students to explain their answers. Write a number sentence using the > sign to show which number is bigger.

(5 minutes)

Tell students that they will be working in pairs to compare three-digit numbers. Explain that each student will write a three-digit number on their individual whiteboard. When they have both finished writing their numbers, they will turn around their boards on the count of three. The students will then work together to figure out which number is bigger. After each round of the game, students will write number sentences using the >, <, or = signs.

(10 minutes)

Call up a student to be your partner and model how to play the game. Make sure to demonstrate how to record your results.

(20 minutes)

Pass out whiteboards to students and pair them up. Circulate the room as partners play the game, providing support as needed.

  • Support: Provide sentence stems for students to fill out: __ > ___
  • Enrichment: Have students compare four numbers. Each partner can come up with two numbers and then they can work together to order them from smallest to largest.

As you circulate the room, monitor the students’ recording sheets to make sure they are accurately comparing numbers and using the correct symbols.

(5 minutes)

Call on a few pairs to share some of their comparisons with the class.

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