Lesson 15

Greater Than, Less Than

Lesson Purpose

The purpose of this lesson is for students to learn the meaning of the symbols < and >. Students interpret comparison statements that use these symbols and the equal sign.

Lesson Narrative

This lesson introduces students to the symbolic notation for greater than and less than. In the first activity, students are introduced to the < and > symbols, and invited to make meaning out of them in context. Students observe that the larger open space of the symbol faces the greater value. It is important for students to relate each symbol to the language ”greater than” or “less than”. Avoid using any non-mathematical language or representations to supplement this lesson or future lessons where students interpret and use comparison symbols. In the second activity, students read comparison statements aloud to determine which statements are true and which are false. By reading statements aloud, students have an opportunity to practice using the language represented by each symbol. Learning the meaning of the < and > symbols and how to evaluate statements involving these symbols is the first step toward using them fluently and accurately (MP6).

  • Engagement
  • MLR7

Learning Goals

Teacher Facing

  • Interpret comparison statements that use <, >, or =.
  • Understand that the > symbol means greater than and the < symbol means less than.

Student Facing

  • Let’s make sense of comparisons and decide if they're true.

Required Materials

Required Preparation

Activity 1:

  • Write \(78 > 45\) and \(45 < 78\) on a piece of chart paper.

CCSS Standards

Lesson Timeline

Warm-up 10 min
Activity 1 20 min
Activity 2 15 min
Lesson Synthesis 10 min
Cool-down 5 min

Teacher Reflection Questions

Think about who volunteered to share their thinking with the class today. Are the same students always volunteering, while some students never offer to share? What can you do to help the class understand the value of hearing the ideas of every mathematician?

Print Formatted Materials

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