December is an exciting month, filled with crafts, treats, parties, and engaging holiday math activities, stories, and more. And then there’s January. Anyone else tend to panic? It’s back-to-school, routines, and time to hit that curriculum! Don’t worry, I’ve got your 1st grade and 2nd grade students covered with this equally engaging FREE printable greater than, less than worksheet!
The Free Printable Snowball Math Game: Greater Than/Less Than requires a little bit of prep (print, cut, laminate), or you can have your students do the cutting! Either way, it’s an excellent way to teach greater than, less than symbols while exploring the values and sequences of three digit numbers.
Value of Comparing Numbers
Primary school years are jam-packed with math concepts and skills. Each year builds on the next. It’s important for students to develop concrete number sense by 2nd and 3rd grade to be able to succeed with more complex math concepts in the future.
Number sense is the ability to understand, manipulate and compare numbers. For example, it’s understanding that 10 is 8+2 or 13-3, or 20 is 5 more than 15. When a child has number sense, they can add and subtract using different strategies because they understand the relationships between numbers.
Comparing numbers by less than, greater than or equal to provides valuable practice. In this hands-on activity, children must be able to: Generate and write a number, order numbers with gaps between, and then sort the numbers based on a comparison.
This valuable practice leads to future problem solving skills, like number stories or even comparing fractions. “There are 10 fish swimming in the pond and 12 crabs lounging on the beach. How does the number of fish relate to the number of crabs? What fraction of the group is fish? Crabs?”
Materials needed for the Snowball Math Game: Greater Than/Less Than
- Laminating pouches
- Dry erase marker or crayons
- Notebook (optional)
To prep: Print and laminate the game board and number cards. Then, cut the snowball number cards.
To use: Student will write any number between 100 and 999 in the box at the top of the number mat with a dry erase marker.
I love the Crayola Dry Erase crayons for my kids because they feel safer than a marker. They wipe easily when your super busy preschooler decides to steal the crayon from her older sibling to write all over the floors or tables of whatever she comes close to….
Next, students will select 10 random snowballs from the pile and sort them onto the correct mat (greater than/less than) according to the number that was originally selected.
If desired, students can record the answers in a notebook. Some answers will have a lot of numbers in the greater than category and others will have more in the less than category which helps kids focus on their work since there is no guarantee there will be 5 snowballs on each side.
Pictures provide an instant portfolio of work and help keep track of work for assessment purposes.
Print and laminate the inequality symbols, including less than/greater than signs and the equals sign. Ask students to practice reading some of the comparison sentences they created while placing the correct greater than/less than/equal to symbol between the numbers.
Teach your students the “alligator mouth” trick to remember which sign to use. The alligator always opens his mouth toward the greater number.
Get your students moving before or after this activity with a classroom snowball fight! (think crumpled scrap paper or large white pompoms)
Apply the concept differently with printable worksheets that require students to write the comparison symbol in the blank.