Comparing numbers is very challenging for some students and likely speaks to a major gap in their number sense. It is also very challenging to address effectively with these students. The photo below shows an entry point into I have used with success in helping such a student.
Even for these struggling students, taller and shorter are likely prior knowledge that students understand intuitively. The people outline on the vertical number chart leverages this intuitive understanding to compare numbers.
- I start by showing 2 different outlines and asking which is “taller” and stick use that term until the student gets the idea. This isolates the focus to comparing items.
- Then I redo all the comparisons using the term “taller” and when the student makes a selection, 10 in this case, I reply “yes, 10 is MORE!” and have them repeat “more.”
- Finally, I redo the comparisons asking which is more and for improper responses I ask which is taller then restate that the taller item is “more.”
For a change of pace, I created a revised version of the card game WAR by using these outlines (no face cards). The cards are 5″x7″ which I purchased on Amazon. Here is a link to the WORD document with the outlines I cut out and taped to the cards. After a student shows success with this revised game, I play regular WAR but use the people outlines for feedback to make a correction or as a prompt as necessary, with the intent to fade their use.