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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
You’ll love this smallest to biggest number worksheet! The first weeks back at school after a long summer vacation can feel unsettling for many students. The sudden addition of early starts and lots of structure can be hard, which is why many teachers start the year with familiar skills to re-engage brains and to build confidence. Remembering how to order numbers largest to smallest is a good first 2 months of school math task, and this back to school printable will save your prep time.
Arranging Numbers By Size
Early math is all based around developing number sense; the idea that our numbering system has a logical order to it, and that each number represents a different value of real world objects. Students comparing numbers 1-20 have to engage both parts of this concept as they need to know why two digit numbers are bigger than single digit numbers, and how to compare two digit numbers where the first digit is the same. This smallest to biggest number worksheet is a great way to give your students independent practice time as well as opportunities for you to discuss and develop their mathematical thinking.
Preparing Arrange Numbers by Size 1-20 Worksheets
You will want to laminate a class set of these back to school printable number sorting worksheets so that you can reuse them. If you are cutting the small strips out like in the extension task mentioned below, you should laminate those as well to save paper.
Extending Smallest To Biggest Number Worksheets
These simple back to school printable for comparing numbers 1-20 worksheets make for an instant math center: just download, print and distribute to your students. As with all good resources, however, you can get multiple extension activities from one download:
Visual comparisons – if you have students who are struggling with arranging numbers by size when presented with the digits, you can scaffold the task by giving them a basket of small objects. For each row of mixed up numbers, have them count out the correct number of objects. This visual representation should help them identify the smallest and the biggest amounts (as long as your small objects are all the same size). You can then refer them to a number line to show why the numbers line up in the way that they do.
Time trials – for those students who have mastered how to order numbers largest to smallest, you can introduce a competitive element by cutting each worksheet up into the smaller strips. Give students a basket with all 8 strips from one page and have them solve them in the shortest time possible. You can stretch them further by giving them all 16, making sure to mark which ones are greatest to smallest and which ones are smallest to greatest.
Video explanation – it’s an axiom of math that a student doesn’t truly understand a concept until they can explain it out loud to someone else. Once your students have completed the smallest to biggest number worksheet, film them explaining how they arrived at their answer. Not only are these great to send home, but they can form part of a digital portfolio showing their academic growth over the year.