“More”, “Less” and “Equal to” in First Grade Math

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Last week English Class first graders learned about “less”, “more” and “equal to the same amount” without actually using digits. In the picture above they are showing how they solved their homework.

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Pupils also used Cuisenaire rods for the first time. Initially the pupils were encouraged to simply play and make constructions of their own choosing. Then the pupils were challenged to find certain shorter rods and certain longer rods to practice the concepts of shorter and longer.

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Then they were challenged to find more or less than the teacher showed or their partner showed. In another lesson pupils clapped, stamped or nodded the same amount as their teacher, Ms. Kati, designated.

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The first graders were also asked to create “steps” using the rods. On Friday the pupils used their math bags to find certain  rods, for example, find the yellow rod by feeling for it. They needed to ask, “Is it longer than…?” or “Is it shorter than…?” in order to deduce which rod it was.

“More,” “less,” and “equal to” are abstract concepts necessary for solving inequalities. Using manipulatives like Cuisenaire rods helps children to comprehend very basic mathematical premises such as the commutativity of addition as they substitute rods.

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