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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
Most students enter kindergarten able to count from 1 to 10 in order almost like knowing the lyrics to a favorite song. However, the next big skill is to understand what these numbers represent and how they compare to each other. These scarecrow theme count and compare cards will be an instant hit in your classroom as students learn and develop a new skill.
Counting and Comparing Numbers
Introducing young students to the concept that each number has a specific meaning and that they all represent different sizes is a skill that underpins the whole of the mathematical world. You have to start by counting and comparing groups of physical items so that students can visualize the difference in size and quantity before moving to the abstract concept of counting and comparing numbers. This is also the perfect time to introduce students to the concepts of greater than, lesser than and equal to as they learn to construct simplistic equations.
How to Prepare Scarecrow Count and Compare
For either the weighing scale or write the room scoot activities below, you should print each page full color and laminate them so that students can mark them up. For the sorting count and compare task or for use an as individual math station , you should print 4 to a page but still cut each one out so that each student has a pile of scarecrow theme cards to work with.
Your New Favorite Kindergarten Math Center
After you’ve introduced the concept of greater than, lesser than and equal to as your whole class, you can use these scarecrow theme cards as a kindergarten math center using some of these ideas:
Use scales – a common misconception that students make with the = sign is to think it means “and the answer is”. As they’re learning about counting and comparing groups of objects, you should use a set of weighing scales to show that the = sign means both sides of the equation have the same value. Just make sure that all of your items are the same size and weight!
Write the room – kindergarten students are known for their need to move, so instead of providing them with a select packet of these count and compare cards, you could print a whole set and pin them up around your learning space. Students would then go to each card and record the equation that they see on a piece of paper either independently or with a partner. Paired work allows you to have students collaborate and check each other’s answers, taking the pressure of grading and feedback off you as the teacher.
Sort the cards – being able to differentiate between the < and > signs is one that kindergarten students need to master. To help develop this skill, start by printing the cards so that they fit 4 to a page, and ask students to first of all identify each set as being greater than, lesser than or equal to each other. Then have them sort the cards into three piles, one for each symbol. You can then lead interesting discussions about similarities and differences between the cards in each group.
As an individual math center for Fall – provide a dry erase marker for your student to circle the correct answer on the cards directly.