Comparing numbers in the Early years can’t be done unless the children have a very strong sense of number. They need to fully understand how our number system works, the ‘twoness of two’, ‘the threeness of three’ etc. before they can think about numbers in relation to each other.

## Taking Steps Towards Comparing Numbers

Once children have a good understanding of early number they can begin comparing numbers. Comparing numbers will allow children to see the relationship between numbers and begin to understand the concepts of addition and subtraction at a very basic level. Following the steps below children will begin to see that some numbers are one more or one less than another number.

- Children will need to begin by comparing collections of objects which are excessively different in quantity so that the collection with more is obvious. To challenge the children’s thinking provide large quantities of small objects and small quantities of big objects to allow the children to make a distinction between size and quantity. Once children easily recognise collections where there is a clear difference you can make the difference less obvious.
- Following on from this, children need to see collections of objects that are the same or equal in quantity. Further challenge can be introduced by asking children to make unequal groups equal.
- Children confident in this will then be able to compare numbers without using objects. They will learn that 10 is a lot bigger than 4, while 5 is just a little bit bigger and 3 is smaller.
- The next step is for children to understand one more and one less in relation to objects and numbers.

## Comparing Quantities Pack

My comparing quantities pack will help to progressively develop all of the above skills in a fun and practical way.

### More and Fewer

When comparing quantities, children need to be introduced to the vocabulary of ‘more’ and ‘fewer’. Fewer has a similar meaning to less but there is an important distinction to be made. Fewer is used in relation to objects and less is used when comparing numbers where no objects are involved.

The activity cards can be used in a number of ways, they can either be laminated and drawn on with a whiteboard pen, used as playdough mats or they can be used with counters and various objects. Each plate has a different number of circles. You can ask the children to add either more or fewer to the empty plate. Once they are good at this you can be more specific with your requests and ask them to put on ‘one more’, ‘two more’, ‘one fewer’, or ‘two fewer’.

The jars above are used in a similar way to the plates but come with button cards of different quantities. Children need to match the cards to the right jar according to its label of either ‘more’ or ‘fewer’.

### Ordering from Fewer to More

Once children have a good grasp of more and fewer they can be challenged with the activity above and order objects from fewer to more.

### More and Fewer Game

For this game, you will need the house base boards, a die, some small home made envelopes or cubes to represent parcels. Each child will need a base board, and either 10 small envelopes or 10 parcels. The children take it in turns to throw the die and deliver the correct number of parcels or envelopes to the houses in order. Throughout the game, when comparing numbers of items delivered take the opportunity to reinforce the vocabulary of more and fewer. The winner is the child who delivers all of their parcels or envelopes first.

## Free Comparing Numbers Power Point Video

The following Power Point video begins by comparing numbers 1 to 5. To begin with, children are encouraged to count using their fingers to make a number ladder. Starting with zero using a closed fist they then use their index finger on each hand to count up a ladder, placing one on top of the next in turn as they say each number. In this way, children can visually see numbers getting bigger as they progress up the number ladder.

The rest of the Power Point video starts comparing numbers with **‘The Little Dots’**. First, the children look for bigger numbers and are introduced to the vocabulary of more and fewer. You may wish to pause the video at times to give the children time to participate. The video asks for some interaction, so provide the children with a paper plate and counters in order that they can make quantities that are bigger than the ones shown. If your group size doesn’t allow this children could use their fingers or number fans to demonstrate. Alternatively continue the activity as a large group and select individuals to put counters on a plate.

The video then goes on to look at smaller numbers and numbers that are the same.

Each part of the video should be delivered over a period of 3 separate sessions rather than all in one go in order not to overload the children with information. Children should be given the opportunity to consolidate their learning practically once each new concept is explored.

For more activities visit my store on teacherspayteachers or tes resources.