In math, we sometimes compare numbers and quantities with terms, more, less or equal. Quantities, or sometimes we call it numerical value for example, I have 12 books, the quantity of the item you are describing is 12. We have 12 books in the library. A child can count each book to define the quantity.

We begin introduction to comparing objects in early childhood. We have objects and let children describe in many ways:

  • Heavy or light
  • Long or short
  • Broad or narrow
  • Small or great
  • Much or little
  • Big or small

A lot of items we begin learning to compare we compare in terms of mass, volume, height, shape.

When we begin to teach lessons to young students it’s important to guide them through many activities. When children learn how to measure it is often with an object they are familiar with such as paper clips or their hands. 

So when we begin to instruct them on quantities we then measure the objects with the way they are taught, and then they compare both of the items they measure. They start with two items and then move on to comparing three items and so on.

This is how our ideas of foundational data and measurement are formed, and this is the foundation that every other date and measurement concept is built off of.

A huge challenge in teaching concepts in math is figuring out how to break these concepts into smaller chunks of information. Remember young children haven’t been introduced to these concepts formally, so even though they are automatic to us, children require direct instruction.

For example comparing numbers is a difficult concept for young children, and requires lots of instruction and hands on practice for them to obtain mastery. But this concept is crucial in counting before numbers are greater counting forward than the numbers that came before them.

How to Teach Children to Compare Numbers?

These skills are built upon in addition and subtraction in Kindergarten.  Comparing numbers, is really the bottom of a layer of complex ideas about math.

Informally, most preschoolers really do understand about “more and less”. If Joe has 4 cookies and Jenny has 3, Jenny will tell you she has fewer cookies than Joe! Because we tend to teach sharing as equal objects, or time, even young student are aware if they have more or less of something compared to their classmates.

Comparing large or equal quantities can be harder, and require much more practice. We have created math games for both sizes and quantities. As we have discussed, students in early learning need a lot of practice. The student needs to decide which quantities are greater than, less than or equal to.

The same occurs for size relationships they need to pick larger, smaller, or equal to in terms of size. The student must click on the correct sign below the pictures to make the number sentence true.

comparison in math
comparison in math

[1] http://kateshomeschoolmath.com/how-preschoolers-compare/