Dear Family, your Operation Maths guide to Comparing and Ordering
Category : Uncategorized
Dear Family, given below is a brief guide to understanding the topic of comparing and ordering as well as some practical suggestions as to how you might support your children’s understanding at home. Also below, are a series of links to digital resources that will help both the children, and you, learn more about comparing and ordering. The digital resources are organised according to approximate class level:
Understanding Comparing and Ordering
Comparing and ordering is probably something that happens a lot in any home already!
- “She’s got more than me! That’s not fair!”
- “I want to be first!”
- “I want to have the biggest piece!”
In maths, comparing is when two items, amounts or portions are examined to see if they are the same (equal), and if not, which is the larger/has more and which is the smaller/has less. Statements can be made to show how the two relate to each other; for example they are equal (=), there are more bananas than apples (opposite); there are less pears than strawberries.
Initially, the children will be identifying which group has more/less, and which number is less than or greater than another number. Then, they will begin to describe the relationship in more detail e.g. there is one more banana than apples; there is one less pear than strawberries.
In second class, the children will begin to use mathematical symbols (inequalities) to show the relationship eg 5 > 4 (five is greater than four); 2 < 3 (two is less than three).
Once the children are comfortable comparing two items, amounts or portions, they will then be able to progress to ordering three or more, for example ordering four numbers, smallest to largest, or vice versa. Number word order is also an important aspect of this i.e. identifying the number that comes before or after another number.
Ordering also involves being able to use the ordinal numbers 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th…. and ordinal words such as first, second, third ….. and last.
Practical Suggestions for Supporting Children
- The next time your child complains that somebody has got more than them, ask them to prove it! If it is sweets, can the child count the amounts to explain or justify that they do indeed have less than another? Or even when sharing out items like this, deliberately give more to somebody and ask your child(ren) to check if the amounts are all the same and, if not, to explain how the amounts are different. And what could be done to make it fairer.
- When organising, tidying, sorting at home, ask your child to compare the groups of items they encounter. Ask questions such as:
- “Which has more/less?”
- “Which is larger/smaller?”
- “Do you want more tomatoes or more grapes in your lunch?”
- Try to incorporate ordinal number words such as first, second, third…last into your daily routine.
- Who was first up out of bed? Who was second? Who was third? Who was last?
- Who was first, second etc to be dressed, ready to go to school, finished homework etc.
- When giving instructions: “First put on your socks, second put on your shoes, third put on your coat.”
- When playing games discuss who will go first, second, third etc.
- When standing in a queue talk about your position i.e. where you are standing.
- Monitor your child closely when they start writing the ordinal numbers, and don’t take them for granted, as the abbreviation system is not always obvious:
- Straightforward enough: fourth = 4th; sixth = 6th; seventh = 7th; tenth = 10th.
- Less obvious: fifth = 5th; eighth = 8th; ninth = 9th
- Tricky! first = 1st; second = 2nd; third = 3rd
- Talk about the dates on the calendar. Say the ordinal number word clearly so that the child appreciates the difference in the sound of these numbers and the counting numbers eg seventh not seven.
- “Your birthday is on the 3rd (third) of October.”
- “We will be going back to school on the 6th (sixth) of January”
- Play hand grab: Get your child to put their hand into some lego, marbles, or other similar items and to put the handful ‘grabbed’ out onto a table. You child can then repeat this, or somebody else can get a handful. Look at the two amounts on the table. Estimate which has more. Then check which has more by either counting or laying both sets of items out in two lines, side-by side, so that you can clearly see which line has more. You could also ask your child to count to find out how many more are in the longer line.
- Play an ordering numbers game. Write down all/some of the numbers that your child knows, (eg 0-5 for junior infants, 0-10 for senior infants 0-20 for first class and any set of random numbers within 100 for second class), with each number on a separate piece of paper/post-it. Mix up the numbers and place them face down. Get your child to:
- Pick up a number and say it.
- Place all the numbers in order smallest to largest (variation: largest to smallest).
- Say what number is missing, after you remove one.
- Pick out 3 or three numbers and put them in order smallest to largest or vice versa
- Play guess my number. Get your child to write down a number within their familiar numbers range (see above). Work out the number by asking questions to narrow the possibilities. For example, is it greater than 5? Is is less than 5? etc. Next round, you write down a number and your child asks you the questions.
- You can also play any of the online interactive games below.
Digital Resources for Infants
Happy Numbers Kindergarten: Work through the activities from Module 1, Topic D and Module 3, Topic E, F and G.
Todo Math: Learn ordinal numbers as you watch the toys line up for ice-cream
Ordinal numbers: Watch the ostrich race and use ordinal numbers to identify the finishers
Make a cake song: Learn ordinal numbers using a recipe song
Caterpillar Ordering: Choose between ordering (where you put the given numbers in order) or sequencing (where you complete the sequence with the correct numbers from those given). Has various levels including 1-5, 1-10, 1-20.
Coconut Ordering: Hit the numbers in order of size. Select ‘numbers’ and then choose from numbers up to 10 or up to 20.
Ordinal Numbers: Video showing children lining up for a bus
Let’s Compare: A comparing sizes game, including picking out the biggest, smallest, shortest etc
Digital Resources for First and Second Classes
Ordinal Numbers: Video showing ordinal numbers, 1st to 20th.
White Rose Comparing: a series of lessons on comparing objects and numbers; also introduces/uses the mathematical symbols <, > and =. These series of lessons could be followed up with the lessons on ordering and ordinal numbers
White Rose Maths Ordering Numbers: A lesson on ordering number up to 100
Caterpillar Ordering: Choose between ordering (where you put the given numbers in order) or sequencing (where you complete the sequence with the correct numbers from those given). Has various levels including 1-100.
Coconut Ordering: Hit the numbers in order of size. Select ‘numbers’ and then choose from numbers up to 10, up to 20, up to 100 (in tens) or up to 100 (any number).
Battleship Numberline: Can you blow up the enemy submarines? This game starts very easy, where you must click the correct number on the number line, but then the game progresses in difficulty as the player must work out where a given number would be placed on the blank number line. Choose the whole number game.
I Know It! Play some of these activities Ordinal Numbers (Up to 10); Ordinal Numbers (Up to 20); Ordering Numbers Up To 20; Ordering Numbers Up To 100; Comparing Numbers to 20; Comparing Numbers to 100.
That Quiz – Inequalities: Select the correct sign each time
Splash Learn – Counting and Comparison Games: Practice number word order, ordering numbers and comparing amounts.
Comparing: a selection of games from ixl.com. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. There are also some ordering games: order numbers up to 10; order numbers up to 30; order numbers up to 100; ordinal numbers up to 10th; ordinal numbers up to 100th