# 16 Greater Than/Less Than

Xiya Zhang

**Formal Definition: **Defining Greater Than/Less Than in math, as Eula Ewing Monroe (1998) explained in Math Dictionary for Young People, “Greater than (>) is used to compare two numbers when the greater number is expressed first.” (p.69) ; “Less than (<) is used to compare two unequal number when the lesser number is written first.” (p.86)

*Video 1. Equal, Greater or Less Than by Mathematics is Fun of YouTube*

*Video 1. Equal, Greater or Less Than by Mathematics is Fun of YouTube*

**Kid-speak:** To help kids remember which way the greater than (>) and less than (<) signs go, think of the sign as a hungry alligator. The alligator always wants to eat the bigger number.

Imagine the alligator has a big mouth, and it’s always open wide to eat the bigger number. So, if you have the numbers 3 and 5, the alligator will open its mouth towards the 5 because 5 is bigger. We draw the alligator’s mouth like this: 3 < 5.

You can also remember that the small side of the sign points to the smaller number, and the big side of the sign points to the bigger number. This way, you can always tell which number is greater or smaller!

**Way to learn about Greater Than/Less Than: **

You can practice counting and identifying less than, greater than with “Dot Pattern Comparisons”.

**Objective:**

Students will learn to compare numbers using “greater than” (>) and “less than” (<) symbols with the help of dot patterns.

**Materials Needed:**

Dot stickers or markers

Whiteboard or large paper

Markers or pens

Number cards (1-10)

“Greater than” (>) and “less than” (<) symbols on cards

**Dot Patterns Demonstration:**

On a whiteboard or large paper, draw two sets of dots to represent different numbers. For example, draw 7 dots and 4 dots. Ask students which group has more dots and which has fewer.

**Symbol Introduction:**

Introduce the “greater than” (>) and “less than” (<) symbols. Explain that the open side of the symbol always faces the larger number, and the point faces the smaller number.

**Hands-On Activity:**

Give each student a set of number cards and dot stickers or markers. Ask them to pick two number cards and use dot stickers to represent the numbers on a piece of paper.

Once they have created the dot patterns, have them use the “greater than” or “less than” symbols to compare the numbers.

**Group Activity:**

Divide the students into pairs and give them more number cards. Ask them to create new dot patterns and compare the numbers with their partners. They can also use the “greater than” and “less than” cards to show the comparison.

Reinforce the concept by discussing real-life examples where they might need to compare quantities, like comparing scores in a game or the number of books they have.

This activity will help students understand the concepts of “greater than” and “less than” using a visual and tactile approach, making it easier for them to grasp and remember.

**Attribution for this Section Above:**

Dot Pattern Comparisons is attributed by Melissa Haun (2014, Sep 15). Greater than less than with the dot method [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo1kvxu-Dc8&t=3s

**References:**

Eula Ewing Monroe (1998). Math Dictionary for Young People. Silver Burdett Pr.

Video 1.Mathematics is Fun. (2013, Sep 17). Equal, Greater or Less Than [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo1kvxu-Dc8&t=3s

**Attributions:**

Dot Pattern Comparisons is attributed by Melissa Haun (2014, Sep 15). Greater than less than with the dot method [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo1kvxu-Dc8&t=3s