The Meadows

Primary School

‘Play Together, Learn Together, Achieve Together’


Comparing numbers involves knowing which numbers are worth more or less than each other.  This includes:

  • Recognising more/less - initially the groups need to be obviously different from each other e.g. group of 1 and a group of 10.  Collections should also offer challenges, such as including more small things and fewer large things, to try and trick them and to ensure that they understand that it's the number of 'things' in the group not the size of the 'things.'
  • Recognising when groups have 'the same' as each other - children can line up the objects to check they are definitely 'the same' by matching up on a one to one basis.
  • The children then move on to comparing numbers.  Just by looking at the numerals, children need to be able to say which is more and which is less.  We choose numbers which are alot bigger or alot smaller and then compare numbers which are closer together e.g. 3 and 4.
  • Children need opportunities to see and begin to generalise the ‘one more than/one less than’ relationship between numbers in a sequence.  They need to recognise that if they add one, they will get the next number, or if one is taken away, they will have the previous number.

Things you can do at home to develop this area:

  • Compare which there are more/less of within your house - begin with obviously different set sizes e.g. 10 forks and 2 spoons, 9 dolls and 1 ted, 12 cars and 1 truck etc.  Then begin to compare and talk about sets that are closer in number together e.g. 10 forks and 8 spoons, 8 dolls and 7 teds etc.  This can be done and is best done through play.
  • Find sets which are the same e.g. 4 cars and 4 trucks - line them up one to one to see that there is the same number.  This can be done and is best done through play.
  • Compare and talk about numbers e.g. would you rather 5 sweets in a bag or 3 sweets in a bag - why did you choose that? If they chose 5, you are encouraging answers like '5 is more and I like sweets so I would choose the one with most sweets in or they may say 3 sweets because I don't like sweets etc.
  • Sing songs involving numbers e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I caught a fish alive, 10 green bottles etc, stopping and then encouraging them to make predictions about what the outcome will be in stories, rhymes and songs if one is added to, or if one is taken away.